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President offers hope for action on climate change

For the 87 percent of Americans a recent opinion poll showed to be supportive of government action on climate, the president’s speech on this matter, at Georgetown University a month ago, contained a hopeful message.
Noting that “countries like China and Germany are going all out in the race for clean energy,” Obama accompanied the observation with a promise: America won’t simply cede success to others.
“I believe Americans build things better than everybody else,” he said, and, “I want America to win that race.”
When a German (sister) city near the Baltic Sea is fully powering itself with clean, mostly solar-generated electricity, it demonstrates the exciting possibilities in green-power transitioning.
The president’s speech, unveiling a suite of policies and commitments, is cause for pride and encouragement that a long-delayed national response to climate disruption, and clean-energy transitioning, will now receive priority attention in government action.
The president noted that wind- and solar-generated electricity, true “zero-carbon” power, has doubled in the U.S. over the last four years and could soon double again.
He highlighted collaboration among federal and state leaders in that, for the large jobs benefits these energy branches provide, help came from Republican governors last year to win the fight for extension of the wind-energy tax credit.
He gave promise of the federal government leading the way through various measures, drawing “20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources within the next seven years,” green lighting renewable energy on public lands and supporting its further expansion on U.S. military bases, already major innovators in the green-power transition process.
The president’s call to action addressed citizens, too.
All must shoulder a part of the duty “to reduce carbon pollution (through wasting and consuming) less energy in our cars, our homes, our businesses.”
The greenhouse gases at the consumption end of the energy cycle make up 30 percent of this pollution.
Conserving energy wherever we can, reducing its draw through smarter, high-efficiency lighting and appliances, choosing green types of energy — the commitment to preserving a habitable climate for the future demands responsible action and decisions from all.
The electricity industry also must help shoulder the load, the president said.
Power plant carbon standards, proposed for new coal plants last year but not yet finalized, must be implemented and standards put in place for existing plants.
In working toward this urgent goal ­— lowering the coal plants’ unlimited carbon emissions through proper standards — one hopes he will have the supportive collaboration he is seeking, “from states, industry and other stakeholders.”
American communities and citizens already, undeniably, are bearing high costs from the carbon pollution we have so long ignored.
In his courageous and striking speech, the president showed a deep understanding of the scientific realities we face and their consequences for humanity and the planet.
Rightly, he phrased as moral responsibility the commitment to action on climate change:
“When it comes to the world we leave our children, we owe it to them to do what we can.”