Tuesday was a remarkable day for me. After a decade of fighting to sound the alarm about the urgent need to solve global warming, I heard these words come from the President-elect of the United States: "Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all." U.S. leadership on the climate crisis has arrived.
Some pundits were surprised that Obama chose global warming as the subject of his second major policy announcement since the election. After all, the cynical rule of thumb is that environmental promises dissolve the minute bad financial news comes along.
But Obama recognizes something those cynics may not: that the path to economic stability leads right through global warming solutions. Clean energy is the fast-track, not a detour, on America's road to prosperity.
Obama made his announcement during a taped statement aired at a bipartisan conference on global warming hosted by Governor Schwarzenegger. He called for federal cap and trade legislation -- a solution to global warming that will generate capital for investing in clean energy and create millions of jobs right here in America.
Making our offices and homes more energy efficient, rebuilding our electricity grid, manufacturing plug-in hybrid cars, growing dedicated fuel crops -- these are the green opportunities that point directly toward economic stimulus.
With Tuesday's speech, Obama demonstrated both his leadership and the priority he places on attacking global warming. It shows that he understands that the fastest, best way to turn our economy around, build jobs, and solve the climate crisis is to spur investment in our clean energy future.
My colleagues have been making this point for some time, so have economists, Fortune 500 CEOs, even state governors and senators. But to hear it come from the next leader of the United States gave it new power. Yes, Tuesday was a remarkable day indeed.