Will Obama now lead on climate change?
…we want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet…
It was to these words, delivered in familiar stentorian tones, that I woke up this morning as the radio alarm kicked into life. My immediate reaction was “Obama won!” and then, secondly “This is the first big mention of climate change in the US election!”
During the campaign Obama referred to the green agenda only in terms of green jobs and energy security. Now in times of economic crisis this is a form of green jujitsu – framing the agenda in terms that appeal to the audience. Our own Prime Minister David Cameron does the same – happy to boast about record investment in renewables, but clearly unwilling to go back to his pre-crash husky-hugging vote-blue-go-green days.
But both can afford to be much, much bolder – and need to be given the speed of change required. In the UK, a third of all recent economic growth is coming from the green sector – a wave ready to be surfed by any political leader. Obama now has the luxury of the second term president – he can set his own agenda – and hopefully, hopefully he will put climate change centre stage and give much clearer leadership. And he may find that the solutions to the economic problems and the environmental problems are one and the same. Be bold!