President-elect Barack Obama confirmed on Tuesday that he plans to stick to the aggressive targets he had set earlier for fighting climate change and for spurring the development of clean-energy technology, saying, “Delay is no longer an option.”
A Chinese man cycles past chimney of a coal-burning power plant in Shenyang, north China’s Liaoning province, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008. The head of the U.N.’s climate change body said Friday he hopes the United States will take a more active role in fighting global warming once Barack Obama becomes president in January.(AP Photo)
Officials from at least 10 other countries were also present, and Mr. Obama addressed his comments to them when he said, “Solving this problem will require all of us working together.” He said he had asked lawmakers who will attend a climate-change conference next month in Poland to report back to him.
By Brian Knowlton
The New York Times
Mr. Obama’s remarks were sure to be welcomed by Europeans and others who have been urging the administration to take tougher measures ever since President turned his back on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in 2001.
Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, said the call for legislation to cap emissions, one of the first specific policy statements Mr. Obama has made since his election, was a particularly important signal that he will, as he promised during the campaign, make global warming a top priority.
“Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all,” Mr. Obama said.
“Denial is no longer an acceptable response,” he added. “The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious.”
It appeared significant that Mr. Obama, who has stayed largely out of sight at his offices in Chicago since being elected, chose to use such strong language on global warming so early in his transition period. Still, it remains unclear that the current financial crisis and grim economic outlook will allow him to move as quickly as he might like.