Mount Rushmore National Memorial near South Dakota in the United States, where the faces of former US presidents are set into stone.
I cried brushing my teeth this morning, tears mingling with Colgate as I listened to Obama’s inauguration speech on the radio. It wasn’t just his conviction over climate change; it was his bold acknowledgment of all the world’s woes and his determination to solve them.
He tipped his hat to peace in a way we’d forgotten was possible from a US President.
“To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”
He was vocal in his commitment to tackling climate change. "Each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet….We will restore science to its rightful place… We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories…With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to roll back the specter of a warming planet."
Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, Roosevelt was the first “Conservation President”. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Will Obama be the man to turn climate change on its head?
The signs are good. Obama pledged to make science the basis of American environmental policy. Restoring America’s global leadership will require delivering on that pledge. The overwhelming scientific consensus says we must cut global warming pollution by 25-40 percent by 2020 to avoid the worst effects of climate change. We must eliminate the use of coal, oil and other fossil fuels, protect the world’s disappearing forests and transition to clean energy. But we must start now. Delay is not an option.
The sense of potential is potent. The fate of the Earth’s climate will be decided during this Administration. We still have time to escape the worst effects of global warming. We have the skills to do so, and now we have the political will. Finally, anything’s possible.