“The Eyes of the World are on the U.S.”

Over the weekend, we learned world leaders are scaling back expectations for the upcoming Copenhagen climate summit. Here’s what Jeremy Symons, National Wildlife Federation senior vice president, had to say about the decision at Politico’s forum, The Arena:

If there were ever any doubts about the global significance of Congressional action to enact a clean energy and climate plan for America, the run-up to Copenhagen should erase them. The eyes of the world are on the United States, which has the greatest capacity to lead the green economy renaissance that will lower pollution levels and safeguard our children’s future. Copenhagen remains a critical moment to engage all nations in a more ambitious global effort that keeps pace with the latest climate science.

With Senate action on clean energy legislation now delayed, a successful outcome at Copenhagen would be akin to a successful visit to a tailor to buy a new suit. You pick the fabric and style, take measurements and agree on a date to make the final adjustments and close the deal. Similarly, the nations of the world should come out of Copenhagen with an agreement on the architecture and timeline that will shape the final deal. The extended timeline should be months, not years. It should give Congress the time needed to get a strong clean energy and climate bill to President Obama for his signature in early 2010, but also recognize that delay increases the cost of the climate response and the risk of climate disasters.

President Obama needs to provide the leadership to take full advantage of Copenhagen and ensure a successful outcome. And the Senate needs to recognize that prompt action on a U.S. climate bill will not only repower America’s economy with clean energy, but also galvanize global cooperation on climate change.

Learn more about NWF’s international work in our Climate Change, Deforestation & Agriculture section.