The drive to slow global climate change achieved a major milestone today: passage of a bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions by the US House Energy & Commerce Committee. Less than six months ago, most Washington pundits said such a feat was impossible during the 2009 economic recession.
Heck, I didn’t think it would be possible, and I was there at the UN Climate Change conference in Poznań, Poland last December when the United States reversed years of denial and refusal to set emissions goals.
There is no doubt the train is leaving the station when it comes to cap and trade legislation, changing the way utilities, industry and consumers use natural resources for electricity and gasoline. Governments and businesses that continue to ignore planning for a sustainable future are risking a lot.
Many hurdles remain for this bill to become law of the land, but the news is a tremendous boost to international diplomacy efforts to develop a new global warming treaty in Copenhagen this December.
Just today, before the vote in Congress, EnviroMedia Social Marketing/Green Canary Sustainability Consulting joined a conference call briefing by the US State Department with two dozen business and industry leaders and Jonathon Pershing, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change. Mr. Pershing said changes in US foreign policy were “scaling up significantly” the political movement among nations involved in the Major Economies Forum, which represents 75 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emitters.
Former Vice President and Alliance for Climate Protection Chairman Al Gore issued a statement on the House vote: “The bill represents a crucial step forward in addressing the global climate crisis, the need for millions of new green jobs to end the recession, and the national security threats that have long been linked to our growing dependence on foreign oil and other fossil fuels. I encourage Congress to further strengthen this excellent legislation during floor consideration and move to pass this bill in both the House and the Senate this year.”