Rhein on Energy and Climate

There are indications that Al Gore, the unfortunate 2000 candidate for the White House, will join the Obama team.
That is good news, whatever the job he may be given. He would be ideally suited as the next US Secretary for energy and climate policy. No US politician is more knowledgeable about the complexities of the issues. Nobody has done more to familiarise global public opinion with what is at stake. And few politicians rival his practical experience with US politics, including the powerful and indispensable Senate.

Two days ago he has outlined a five-point energy programme for the incoming administration:
• Offer large-scale incentives for investing in solar and wind power plants, especially in the Middle West and South West, with the very ambitious objective of making US power generation 100 percent C02 free within 10 years.
• Begin planning and constructing a national super-grid for the cost-effective transmission of “green power” to the urban centres.
• Help the ailing US automobile industry to rapidly develop hybrid plug-in cars that can run on renewable electricity.
• Embark on a nation-wide effort to retrofit buildings with better insulation and energy-efficient lighting.
• Lead the world’s efforts for an effective international climate treaty that caps global carbon dioxide emissions and encourages all countries to invest in efficient ways to stop global warming and sharply reduce deforestation.

If the new Administration were to adopt and implement this bold programme, the USA would take over global leadership for climate policy from an EU that seems unable to send clear political messages to its own citizens, let alone those in the USA, China or Japan.

So, let us hope for Al Gore to become the next US Secretary for energy and climate policy. It would be a powerful message to the rest of the world. It would restore the credibility that the USA has lost during the 8 lost years of the Bush Administration.
It would hugely improve the chances for a successful outcome of the Climate Conference in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.

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