, December 10, 2008 (ENS) - President-elect Barack Obama signaled that he is ready to tackle the climate crisis immediately upon taking office, following a meeting Tuesday with former Vice President Al Gore and Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
"All three of us are in agreement that the time for delay is over, the time for denial is over," Obama said.
The three men met at the Transition's Chicago headquarters to discuss energy and climate policy - and how addressing those issues can drive the nation's economic recovery.
"This is a matter of urgency and national security," Obama said. "It is not only a problem, it is also an opportunity."
From left, Vice president-elect Joseph Biden, President-elect Barack Obama, former Vice President Al Gore at Transition headquarters. December 9, 2008 (Photo courtesy Obama Transition Team)
"We have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country in all 50 states to repower America," said Obama, "to redesign how we use energy and think about how we are increasing efficiency to make our economy stronger, make us more safe, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make us competitive for decades to come - even as we save the planet."
Obama's "repower America" comment Tuesday is an echo of Gore's plan, made public in July, to Repower America with 100 percent clean electricity within 10 years.
The plan to Repower America outlines immediate investments in three areas: energy efficiency, renewable generation and transmission.
The president-elect and the former vice president appear to be in accord on the urgent need to address global warming after eight years of denial, delay and neglect during the Bush administration. Obama is taking advice from Gore, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for his work to publicize the dangers of global warming through his Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."
In November, the We Can Solve It campaign mounted by Gore's nonprofit Alliance for Climate Protection launched an advertising and grassroots effort to support the president-elect as he enacts policies to revitalize the American economy and help solve the climate crisis.
Obama is not waiting until he takes office to go green. His will be the first eco-friendly inaugural celebration in American history.
Event Emissary, a DC-based event planning company, announced today that it will host the Green Ball to kick off the Obama Inaugural on January 17, 2009 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. www.greeninauguralball.com
Co-founder Jenna Mack explains, " With millions of visitors headed to Washington for President-elect Obama's swearing in ceremony and accompanying celebrations, the impact on our environment will be substantial. Our goal is to create an unforgettable evening while treading lightly on the Earth."
Every facet of The Green Ball is designed to reduce the impact on the environment. Catering will be 100 percent organic and include both vegetarian and vegan options. The bars will feature local and organic beverages. Food waste and floral arrangements will be composted and bottles will be recycled.
Decorative lighting will focus on the use of LED Color Blasts that utilize a fraction of the power compared to more traditional lighting sources. Entertainment audio-visual production will be tailored to minimize environmental impact, using only the most efficient lighting and equipment.
"That which cannot be reduced will be offset," says Mack. "Energy usage will be measured closely and offset through the purchase of wind power credits. Transportation for deliveries to the event, as well as vendor and staff transportation will be offset through the purchase of carbon credits."
Event Emissary Co-founder Stephanie Campbell said, "While one green event is a step in the right direction, our goal is to bring attention to this issue while the Presidential Inaugural Committee and many other groups are still early in their planning. We hope to set an example to other organizations and encourage them to green their events, as well."
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.
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