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America Wants a Clean Energy Future
America’s voters have delivered a clear message that the newly elected Congress must set the nation on a path to a clean energy future to address the joined priorities of national security and climate security. Energy independence in the form of a clean energy future is the common denominator linking concern about American military commitments in the Middle East, domestic job insecurity and the looming threat of global warming. A clean energy future means breaking America’s addiction to foreign oil. It means creating a new generation of jobs developing the technologies and alternatives for cheaper, cleaner and safer energy supplies. And it means using the engine of free market innovation to confront global warming by steering the economy away from fossil fuels.
The new Congress should take this charge on as a top priority. We need policies to create incentives for innovation. We need legislation to cap U.S. global warming pollution by sending market signals that it’s cheaper to reduce the use of fossil fuels than it is to continue business as usual.
Congress also needs to jolt the federal bureaucracy awake to recognize the imperative need for responses to global warming’s cumulative threats of more intense hurricanes, more widespread drought, heat waves and wildfires, a rising sea level and added stress to the survival of wildlife.
For its part, the Bush administration could make a start by ending its state of denial in which mere exhortations to industry to voluntarily reduce global warming pollution are intended to pass as policy adequate to the challenge.
The test of those just elected will be to see if they can catch up to where the people who elected them are leading.