There was more hope than lamentation in a New York Times editorial when it concluded this about the Senate's recent failure to address climate change:
The country needs a new occupant in the White House.
We agree—Congress is not likely to take the necessary actions on climate change without strong White House leadership.
Fortunately, neither McCain nor Obama will take seven years to admit global warming even exists—as the current president did. Both of them pledge to aggressively take action on climate change.
But, we wonder, as does the Times, whether any candidate appreciates how urgent the situation is, and how much political will is needed to transform this country into being the environmental leader of a world in ecological crisis.
For guidance, the candidates should come to Denver on June 26 and listen to the gutsy governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius. At the invitation of Earthjustice, Gov. Sebelius will tell how her 9-month battle with powerful political and economic interests made Kansas the first state to reject a coal-fired power plant because of its global warming emissions.
But, more importantly, Gov. Sebelius will describe the elements of a national clean energy agenda, building on initiatives that her state and others have developed in the absence of national leadership.
Earthjustice played a key role in supporting Gov. Sebelius during her epic fight with coal interests, and we came to admire her principled, practical, courageous stance on energy issues. She believes, as we do, that the nation must take dramatic steps to break our addiction to coal and oil, and that we can strengthen our economy by doing so.
The governor will be joined by a panel of three prominent experts who will discuss key elements of a national clean energy agenda, especially sustainable energy alternatives such as wind and solar; energy efficiency opportunities; the economics of clean energy; and how we can transition from our dependence on coal and other carbon energy sources. The panelists are:
- Ronald L. Lehr: former Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, who now practices law and consults about energy and telecommunications regulation and business matters. He worked for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on the DOE program, "Wind Powering America."
- Randy Udall: Director of the Community Office for Efficiency (CORE), a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy. CORE Director Udall also serves on the Board of Directors of Solar Energy International and Colorado Renewable Energy Society.
- Tom Plant: Director of the Colorado Governor's Energy Office. Before that, he served as executive director of the Center for ReSource Conservation. The non-profit implements a variety of programs focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, green building and construction waste reduction. From 1998 to 2006, Plant represented District 13 in the Colorado House of Representatives. He also worked in the Climate Change department of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC.
Please join us at this important energy program: Out of Kansas—A National Clean Energy Agenda.