As the eyes of the world shift focus toward COP-15 in Copenhagen, Denmark, this month the world holds its collective breath waiting to see what the United States will do.
The USA did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. We have lost valuable time in the necessary reduction of carbon emissions. As 4 percent of world population, the United States is responsible for 25 percent of the global CO2 throughput and consumption of 30 percent of the world's natural resources. It is time for leadership on this critical issue from the greatest country on earth.
We must put a price on carbon. As the Waxman-Markey, Kerry-Boxer and now Kerry-Lieberman-Graham Clean Energy Bill works its way through Congress there is little hope the final bill can be signed by the president before the UNFCCC/COP-15 convenes in Copenhagen through Dec. 18, in what may be the most important meeting to take place in modern history.
But still the world waits, hoping America, with the largest economy on earth, $14 trillion annually and dwarfing Japan and China as a distant second and third respectively, will shift to a clean technology economy based on carbon reduction. By pricing carbon and implementing renewable energy and clean technology at speed and scale, we can quickly reverse the rise of global temperatures, melting of the Greenland ice sheets, retreat of 99 percent of the world's glaciers, acidification of the oceans, catastrophic weather events and many other effects on the biosphere too long to list here.
And by so doing we can create a new energy economy, adding millions of jobs in clean technology sectors while solving both the financial and climate crisis at the same time! The problem truly is the solution.
The city of Aspen, Pitkin County, the state of Colorado and the United States are demonstrating dynamic leadership by implementing policies and regulations on carbon reduction. But at the end of the day everything is local, and all carbon mitigation starts at home with the individual. As the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Conference Of the Parties (COP-15) convenes in Copenhagen this month, please remember it is up to each of us individually to reduce our carbon footprint and tell our elected officials we must have tangible, dynamic action on the climate issue now.
founder and director, American Renewable Energy Day