Climate group: Next president must act quickly on global warming | AspenTimes.com

Climate group: Next president must act quickly on global warming

George Merritt
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” A Colorado-based team of climate and policy experts is asking the next president to lead a massive and urgent effort to reverse global warming by steering the country away from a carbon-fueled economy.

The Presidential Climate Action Project issued more than 100 recommendations Tuesday for the 44th president to undertake in his or her first 100 days.

The group also challenged presidential candidates to say what they would do about climate change.

“What unites us is a sense of urgency and a sense that the next president should undertake a kind of Rooseveltian set of steps to reverse climate change and to set the country upon a new course,” said former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart, the group’s co-chair.

“Some of the nation’s leading scientific experts collaborated to start formulating an agenda for the next administration of whatever party and whatever candidacy,” he said.

The report calls for a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and independence from Persian Gulf oil. It casts climate change as not just an environmental issue but an economic and national security issue as well.

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“This isn’t just about global warming or climate change. It is quite literally planetary destabilization,” said David Orr, an environmental studies professor at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and a member of the group.

“We now must ask each presidential candidate, ‘How will this moment define you?”‘ he said.

Group members said they have been in touch with each presidential campaign.

Ray Anderson, chairman of a company that turns petrochemicals into textiles and a member of the group, said an initiative to reverse global warming would open economic possibilities as well.

“Climate action will create opportunities for innovation, new jobs and new businesses the likes of which we have never seen before,” he said. Anderson’s company, Interface Inc., is based in Atlanta.

The Presidential Climate Action Plan began about a year ago at a gathering of climate experts in Wisconsin. Orr, who came up with the idea for the group, said a recent report from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change bolsters the need for action.