The 100 Day Action Plan to Save the Planet : A Climate Crisis Solution for the 44th President
When the 44th President of the United States is elected, he will face urgent crises on three major fronts: the American economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the growing threat to the world environment caused by climate change.
This short, powerful book shows the way forward: a clear action plan for the new President's first 100 days, that if implemented will set America on course for dynamic job creation and economic growth, reduce our conflicted dependence on foreign oil, and produce energy that is green, affordable, and renewable.
Backed by sound science and based on the best ideas of America's experts, The 100 Day Action Plan to Save the Planet outlines practical steps that include:
*Launch a "clean energy surge" and create a powerful new workforce of green manufacturing, supply, technology, management, and support jobs.
*End carbon subsidies that make fossil fuels much cheaper than their actual cost.
*Create a market by requiring all federal buildings, facilities, and transportation to be fueled by renewable green energy.
*Reward innovation and early adoption of renewable energy in the private sector.
* Work constructively with other nations for global solutions to the climate crisis.
It's not too late; climate change can be dramatically reversed. Green energy is the key to America's economic strength and independence--but the nation needs the president to act boldly and decisively, just as Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in his first 100 days in office, during a time of similar urgency.
"The next president has no time to waste in building a post-carbon economy. This book is a distillation of the best policy advice he will get from anyone on the most important issue of our time."--David W. Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor, Oberlin College
"Bar none, this is the most comprehensive strategy for U.S. engagement on climate change. A must read."--Michael Northrop, program director, Sustainable Development, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
"Bill Becker's book is the go-to source for innovative and comprehensive climate policy proposals. Send a copy of this to your own Congressman and to anyone you know in the new Administration. This is "must reading" for every leader who recognizes that 2009 is going to be the pivotal year for turning this nation away from fossil fuels and towards a clean energy future."--Betsy Taylor, president of the board of 1Sky
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St. Martin's Griffin
October 20, 2008
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Excerpt from The 100 Day Action Plan to Save the Planet by William S. Becker
The 44th President of the United States will take the oath of office on January 20, 2009. From that moment forward, he will have a relatively short honeymoon period during which he has the best chance of advancing his agenda. This book is an action plan for the new President to attack the problem of global climate change during his first 100 days in office.
Every president over the last thirty years has known about climate change. It is the most dangerous and difficult challenge of our time, and it remains largely unaddressed. While scientific research has reached a consensus that human activity already is causing worldwide climate change, America has lacked the political will to do something about it. Since the oil embargoes of the 1970s, every president has gone on record in support of reducing America's dependence on foreign oil, a necessary step for both energy and climate security; presidents as far back as Lyndon Johnson have been advised about the dangers of climate change. But today, the United States imports more oil and emits more greenhouse gases than ever before.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)--the largest international science collaboration in history--concluded unequivocally that climate change is underway, that it is primarily the result of our consumption of fossil fuels, and that time is growing short if we are to avoid catastrophic worldwide consequences on a global scale. "What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future," says Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC. "This is the defining moment." It has been left to the new President to define how the United States will respond.
By focusing on the first 100 days, this book underscores the need for urgent action. America's greenhouse gas emissions are growing by 1.5 percent each year. The IPCC has concluded that worldwide greenhouse gas emissions must be stabilized and begin to decline by 2015, just six years after the next President takes the oath of office.
A 100-day action plan carries symbolic weight, too. President Franklin Roosevelt, whose leadership during two critical national crises is often used as a model for what must happen now, framed his own 100-day plan for the period between the opening and closing of the 73rd Congress in 1933. During that time, according to historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Roosevelt "sent fifteen messages to Congress, guided fifteen major laws to enactment, delivered ten speeches, held press conferences and cabinet meetings twice a week, conducted talks with foreign heads of state, sponsored an international conference, made all the major decisions in domestic and foreign policy, and never displayed fright or panic and rarely even bad temper."
It's an inspiring example, but we are now facing a different sort of crisis. The crises that FDR faced during his presidency were clearly visible and obvious: the Great Depression and World War II. The climate crisis is far more insidious; vested interests continue to sow doubt that it is real; and the solution will require a literal transformation of the industrial world's economies.
The recommendations in these pages are the result of a two-year effort by the Presidential Climate Action Project at the University of Colorado Denver. I'm often asked how it got started. The short answer is that the project is the brainchild of Professor David Orr, the noted environmental educator and author at Oberlin College.
The long answer goes back to the 2004 presidential election. At the time, I was beginning my twelfth year as an official at the U.S. Department of Energy who, like many of my colleagues, had spent my career pushing the United States to begin the transition to a new energy economy powered by renewable resources. When George W. Bush was elected to a second term that year, I was at first shocked, then depressed, that the American people had decided to retain a White House that would be a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil, gas, and coal industries for another four crucial years. I decided I had to make a choice. I either would move to another country so that my taxes would no longer support Bush's policies, or I would try to "light a candle."
I decided on the candle. I resolved to pull together many of America's foremost experts on green energy, climate change, and sustainable development and create a "Sustainable America" action agenda in time to give it to whomever was elected to the presidency in 2008. My starting point was work of the President's Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD), which was convened by the Clinton administration. From 1993 to 1999, the PCSD developed more than 140 recommendations for policies and initiatives that would make the United States more sustainable, but its body of thoughtful ideas was ignored when the Bush administration took office.