Saturday, 18 April 2009 10:34

President Obama proposes new energy and climate partnership for the Americas Featured

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President Obama’s speech at the opening of the Fifth Summit of the Americas being held in the Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, emphasized the importance of hemispheric action on climate change and energy security: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmKCcehLC9U&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x234900&color2=0x4e9e00] During his speech President Obama said:
We can strengthen the foundation of our prosperity and our security and our environment through a new partnership on energy. Our hemisphere is blessed with bountiful resources, and we are all endangered by climate change. Now we must come together to find new ways to produce and use energy so that we can create jobs and protect our planet. So today, I'm proposing the creation of a new Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas that can forge progress to a more secure and sustainable future. It's a partnership that will harness the vision and determination of countries like Mexico and Brazil that have already done outstanding work in this area to promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each country will bring its own unique resources and needs, so we will ensure that each country can maximize its strengths as we promote efficiency and improve our infrastructure, share technologies, support investments in renewable sources of energy. And in doing so, we can create the jobs of the future, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and make this hemisphere a model for cooperation. The dangers of climate change are part of a broad range of threats to our citizens, so the third area where we must work together is to advance our common security.
This is encouraging stuff. Crucially, climate change was not relegated to the periphery as if only of interest to lab rats and technicians. Constructing the issue of climate change around other concerns relating to energy security, prosperity and job creation is critical. Regional governments need to not only wake up to the melting glaciers around them and rising sea levels, but also how their recovery from the financial crisis and their future development fit into this new paradigm. So far this framing of the debate has occurred in isolated pockets. Let’s hope the Summit can lead to a new chapter where global warming is not merely perceived as an environmental headache, but a conundrum for politicians of all stripes and government departments to get stuck into as well.
Read 1523 times Last modified on Wednesday, 11 February 2015 18:29
Guy Edwards

Guy Edwards is a Research Fellow at the Center for Environmental Studies, Brown University, where he manages a research project on the politics of climate change in Latin America. Along with co-author, Professor Timmons Roberts, he is currently writing a book on Latin American leadership on climate change for MIT Press. He has also written various academic papers, policy briefs and op-eds for a number of different publications. As co-founder of Intercambio Climático and formerly co-editor of the website, Guy has worked closely with the Latin American Platform on Climate and the Latin American office of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network. He has also worked for the Overseas Development Institute, the consultancy River Path Associates and as the resident manager of the Huaorani Ecolodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Website: twitter.com/guyedwards