Mediocrity does not serve well

Recently, just days after chunks of ice the size of Florida in the Arctic melted, President Bush hosted a gathering of world leaders to convince other nations that setting voluntary goals will be an adequate response to global warming. This mediocrity should not be mistaken as bold leadership by a president who’s been all but absent from the global-warming discussion: President Bush’s recommendations would take the world several steps backward.

Voluntary actions are a recycled policy from the 1990s, ultimately rejected because they failed to halt global warming. Most countries failed to meet their voluntary Rio goals, prompting world leaders to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol requiring mandatory emissions reductions.

Because our federal government fails to lead, states and cities are stepping up and others are passing emissions-reduction laws. Mayor Terry Bellamy and the Asheville City Council are leaders as well by signing the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement and committing to reduce the city’s contribution to global-warming pollution by 80 percent. North Carolina is still exploring options through the Global Climate Change Commission.

To truly represent that we Americans are serious about stopping this dangerous collision course toward an overheated planet, the Bush administration would re-engage in international climate-change talks and support strong, mandatory emissions reductions that include the United States. Congress must help us realize this goal by passing a comprehensive sustainable-energy bill now and capping our global-warming pollution in the near future. I applaud my congressman, Rep. [Heath] Shuler, for supporting a good energy bill this summer, and I urge other elected officials to step up and boldly lead in seeking climate and energy solutions!

— Ulla Reeves
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

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