President-elect Barack Obama delivered a surprise taped message to the Bi-Partisan Governors' Climate Summit this morning, in which he stressed the need for a cap and trade system, energy independence, solar, wind and nuclear power, and biofuels. He also recused himself from next month's U.N. climate talks in Poland, saying that "the United States has only one President at a time."
Watch his remarks here:
"My presidency will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process.
That will start with a federal cap and trade system. We will establish strong annual targets that set us on a course to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them an additional 80% by 2050.
Further, we will invest $15 billion each year to catalyze private sector efforts to build a clean energy future. We will invest in solar power, wind power, and next generation biofuels. We will tap nuclear power, while making sure it’s safe. And we will develop clean coal technologies."
"When I am President, any governor who’s willing to promote clean energy will have a partner in the White House. Any company that’s willing to invest in clean energy will have an ally in Washington. And any nation that’s willing to join the cause of combating climate change will have an ally in the United States of America."
The cap and trade announcement came as a surprise to some, who assumed he'd start with jumpstarting a clean-energy revolution. Others, such as Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp think that with cap and trade, "Obama got it exactly right."
Said Krupp: "His approach to dealing with our economic, energy, and environmental problems together makes a huge amount of sense. He’s clearly rejecting the timid, business-as-usual approach that often keeps Washington from solving our biggest problems."