Barack Obama on Tuesday renewed his promise to make a decisive break with George Bush on the environment, using a summit convened by Arnold Schwarzenegger to promise a “new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change”.
The video appearance by Obama confirmed the California governor’s role as a global leader on climate change, a position shored up only hours earlier when Schwarzenegger set a bold new target for his state to get a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
In his address, the president-elect accused Bush of failing to show leadership on the issue of climate change. “That will change when I take office,” said Obama.
He went on to lay out an ambitious agenda, beginning with targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Obama also reiterated a campaign pledge to invest $15bn a year in development of clean technology — including coal and nuclear power.
“This investment will not only help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil, making the United States more secure. And it will not only help us bring about a clean energy future, saving our planet. It will also help us transform our industries and steer our country out of this economic crisis by generating five million new green jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.”
Obama added: “Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all. Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious.”
Schwarzenegger’s targets for electricity generation as well as Obama’s appearance at the conference confirmed the governor’s leadership in efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions at a time when there has been a vacuum at federal level.
Holder for attorney general post
Barack Obama has conditionally offered Eric Holder the job as attorney general, and the former top Clinton administration official has accepted, a senior Democrat said.
Before the offer becomes official, Obama’s team wants to determine if Holder could win Senate confirmation with broad bipartisan support and clean up a Justice Department wracked by scandals during George W. Bush’s presidency.