Today in Bali

As I write, global leaders are in Bali, Indonesia negotiating about how to move forward with a worldwide plan to cut global warming pollution. Former Vice President Al Gore was slated to address the meeting this morning, fresh from his acceptance speech for winning a Nobel Prize for his work to confront global warming.

The negotiations are coming down to the wire, and the world’s leading scientists have issued what amounts to a ‘two-minute warning.’ We are desperately behind and need to turn it around. But instead of coming in with a big play, the White House is full of more fumbles and sideline chatter.

National Wildlife Federation participants on the ground in Bali are hearing some disturbing news about the ‘official’ U.S. delegation. While the rest of the world is tackling global warming with the urgency it deserves, the White House continues to try to block action by persisting with outdated appeals for voluntary measures.

Let’s be clear: there is another U.S.A. in Bali that includes local, state and congressional leaders who want aggressive action to confront global warming. Americans want to leave a healthy planet for our children–we want a world where people and wildlife are not threatened by global warming. We will not sit idly by as scientists predict catastrophic flooding, heat waves and global warming refugees by the millions. We will not sit idly by as up to one-third of the world’s plant and animal life is threatened with extinction because of global warming.

The other U.S.A. is with the world in Bali. Despite a cold shoulder from the White House, delegates in Bali should know that from coast to coast, Americans are responding to the urgent need to reduce global warming pollution.

While other nations are moving forward in Bali, the momentum for U.S. action is in Congress. After years of blocking international and domestic efforts to confront global warming, the White House finds itself increasingly isolated and irrelevant in Bali.

In the fight against global warming, the science is clear: the path to avoid catastrophic climate change starts with firm limits on global warming pollution. We cannot afford to lose momentum in the international arena because the White House is out of step with the rest of America and the world. The Other U.S.A. is committed to ensuring our country moves from being a global laggard to being a global leader in reducing global warming. We have a moral responsibility to do everything we can to reduce global warming pollution. We must do what’s right for America and what’s right for the world.

Published: December 12, 2007