- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama will drop in on California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s international climate change summit via video Tuesday morning.

The Governors’ Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles aims to craft a blueprint for the next global agreement on the issue, Mr. Schwarzenegger’s office said.

Mr. Obama will appear in a 4-minute video during the opening of the two-day bipartisan summit, which includes more than a dozen top world leaders and U.S. governors who have taken action into their own hands.

The president-elect, who takes the oath of office Jan. 20, pre-taped the video address, intended to be a surprise for summit attendees.

Here is the video address in full:

“My presidency will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process,” Mr. Obama says in the video.

He promised to begin with a federal cap and trade system that would reduce emissions to their 1990 levels within 12 years and another 80 percent reduction by the year 2050.

Mr. Obama also said the government would invest $15 billion annually to help the private sector develop and improve solar and wind power and biofuel, saying such industries can create up to 5 million new “green jobs” to help the struggling economy.

“We will tap nuclear power, while making sure its safe. And we will develop clean coal technologies,” he said.

He did not directly criticize the Bush administration for its lack of climate change policy, though the summit’s organizers noted in the planning process they are taking action because of the federal government’s failure to do so.

“Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response,” Mr. Obama said. “The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious. ”

Three Democratic Obama allies will be attending the summit: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Kansas Gov. Kathy Sebelius and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is the only Republican besides Mr. Schwarzenegger represented on the agenda.

The California governor’s office said the goal for the first event of its kind is “to find tangible, sustainable and cooperative solutions to the global climate challenge and develop the partnerships and collaborative actions needed to advance a global climate agreement [at the United Nations climate change meeting] in Copenhagen next year.”

There will be officials from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom attending the summit, which begins at 12:30 (EST) and will be streamed online.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming, will be attending the United Nations treaty talks in Poland on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12. Mr. Obama will not attend.

Mr. Obama said he has asked members of Congress that plan to attend to “report back” on what they have learned, and finished the address with a promise to the world leaders and governors.

“When I am President, any governor who’s willing to promote clean energy will have a partner in the White House. Any company that’s willing to invest in clean energy will have an ally in Washington. And any nation that’s willing to join the cause of combating climate change will have an ally in the United States of America,” he said.

In his first post-election interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” broadcast Sunday, Mr. Obama named energy as an immediate priority right after the economy.

Mr. Obama said the fact gas prices have recently decreased makes energy “more important” now than ever, though, “It may be a little harder politically.”

“This has been our pattern. We go from shock to trance,” he said. “You know, oil prices go up, gas prices at the pump go up, everybody goes into a flurry of activity. And then the prices go back down and suddenly we act like it’s not important, and we start, you know filling up our SUV’s again.”

“And, as a consequence, we never make any progress. Its part of the addiction, all right. That has to be broken. Now is the time to break it,” he said.

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