In one vision of the future, the demonstrations outside the Bella Center in Copenhagen are frightening. Life is no longer a carnival; civil society is acting out its anger. Inside the Center, decision-making on climate change has been like bailing a lifeboat riddled with loopholes. The conference is still alive yet little to no forward progress has been made.
However, there is another vision of the future, a bold one. With one day remaining, the day of signatures, final speeches, and photo ops by delegates and leaders representing 193 nations around the world, it is time for bold action. It is time to call in the HERO.
It is time for the leader of the United States, President Barack Obama, to step to the podium, and in the three-minutes allotted him, affirm the following.
1. Today we will sign an agreement that is not perfect. However, if enough Democrats are elected to Congress in mid-term elections in 2010, I can assure you it will gain our country's legally binding signature. Citizens in my country must go to the polls and vote in an overwhelming majority of Democrats to get this done. In the words of 350's Bill McKibben, "We must organize civil society around the science and survival."
2. Tomorrow, upon my return to the White House, I will command, as Commander-in-Chief, that the United States follow the lead of the countries of Norway, Costa Rica and New Zealand in achieving NET Zero carbon emissions by 2025. How will this happen? I will convene a convention of mayors from around the country. The move to Net Zero must rise from the grassroots up.
3. I will authorize my staff to develop a Carbon Tax that WILL pass the U.S. Congress after the 2012 elections. This tax will place a 10% fee on all coal burned in power plants. This fee will increase by 10% each year until, at the end of 10 years, we will have made a smooth transition to renewable and alternative forms of energy. The monies collected from this tax on coal will drive the investment marketplace. It will fund the transition to sustainability.
4. And finally, I welcome other countries to follow this path to the future with me. To those developing nations who follow, or perhaps even pass us by on the way, I make this solemn promise: You will receive our utmost guidance, along with technical and financial support.
For we can be partners, all 193 countries, in restoring what has been given to us on this beautiful blue planet; this spaceship Earth. We can create a path to sustainability for all that will also be the path to peace and goodwill for all peoples of the Earth.
A leader is a person with followers. Will you follow me on this path to the future?