A Critical Election for Sir Martin's Critical Century

Energywise readers may have got the impression from Bill's last post -- Critical Election? Critical Century! -- that Martin Rees was commenting directly on the election, though he was not. Here is some more elegant prose that actually is about the election's critical importance to climate and energy policy and the hopes riding on the Obama Administration to come. The text is a statement released yesterday by R.K. Pachauri, director general of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Dehli and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- the UN-sponsored body that seeks and sells scientific consensus on climate science and policy. Pachauri celebrates Obama's election as a cause for optimism:

The presidential elections in the US have vindicated the power of democracy as the most responsive form of government of the people, by the people and for the people. In respect of policies related to climate change, there was obviously a major divergence between the position of the Federal Government and that of the people at large, state governments and the cities in the US.

President-elect Barack Obama has not only been very clear in emphasizing the need for the US to engage in global solutions to meet the challenge of climate change but also in respect of bringing about a major shift in US energy policy.

The US now has a unique opportunity to assume leadership in meeting the threat of climate change, and it would help greatly if the new President were to announce a coherent and forward looking policy soon after he takes office. There is every reason to believe that President Obama will actually do so. This should please people across the globe, because US leadership is critical for mounting global efforts to meet this threat effectively. For this reason itself, apart from several others, the election of Mr Obama is a development that should generate optimism all-round.

Pachauri's statement was forwarded to members of the Society of Environmental Journalists by Arul Louis, a fellow at the International Center for Journalists in Washington, DC.

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