America returns

Feature story - November 5, 2008
History was made yesterday in more ways than one. In tough economic times, US voters backed a candidate who favours big action on climate and energy.

Promise of a new chapter in global efforts to address climate change as Barack Obama succeeds in US presidential elections.

Here in New Zealand we too have our election this weekend and it's important that we also consider the environment in our vote. A vote for the environment is a vote for the future! 

We have a big job ahead of us if we want to avert dangerous climate change and the myriad of other environmental issues we face. In New Zealand we like to think of ourselves as 100% pure, clean and green but in truth the clean green ideal is not matched by reality.

New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions growth rate is rapidly increasing, our oceans are being depleted of fish, our rivers, lakes and streams are becoming polluted and treasured native plants and animals face extinction.

Before you vote this weekend check our to see how the parties stack up on environmental policies.

The people of North America said yes we can and led by example. What follows is a statement from John Passacantando, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, on the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

We at Greenpeace congratulate Senator Barack Obama on his historic election as President of the United States. He has demonstrated the once-in-a-generation ability to unite America behind a common vision. It is a vision that the United States urgently needs now to solve the triple challenge of the energy, economic and global warming crises. We also congratulate the American people for backing a candidate who stood up for real change in a time of deep economic trouble. Among the most daunting issues America faces today is the crisis of global warming, and the American people backed the candidate who ran on a clear platform of taking the bold, science-based action needed to solve that crisis. Americans weren't fooled by the millions of dollars spent by oil and coal companies during the election in an attempt to derail a solution. President-Elect Obama said that the change we need includes putting people back to work by solving global warming and investing in a clean energy future, and Americans responded in historic numbers. For eight years, the international community tried to solve global warming while this country's leadership sat on the sidelines. We look forward to showing a waiting world that America is back and ready to lead.

Obama supports strong domestic action on global warming

  • Obama has committed to 80 per cent reductions in global warming pollution by 2050. (Source: Obama-Biden, New Energy for America Plan)
  • The Obama campaign has committed to using executive action to regulate global warming pollution, if necessary. (Source: Bloomberg News, October 16)
  • Obama supports international action on global warming: "Obama and Biden will re-engage with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), the main international forum dedicated to addressing the climate problem". (Source: Obama-Biden, New Energy for America Plan)
  • Obama has committed to attend or send a personal representative to the next UN climate talks in Poland this December.

Obama supports major investments in clean energy

Obama has committed to helping create 5 million new green jobs by:

  • investing US$150 billion in clean energy over the next 10 years;
  • requiring 10 per cent of electricity be obtained from clean sources by 2012; and
  • putting at least a million ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road.
  • (Source: Obama-Biden, New Energy for America Plan)

Solving the global warming crisis is essential to getting the economy back on its feet

Extreme weather, sea level rise, flooding, and other impacts associated with global warming will cause a US$271 billion annual drag on the economy by 2025 and a whopping US$3.8 trillion by 2100. We can't afford not to fight global warming. (Source: