Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The US of A: Under New Management

I went to a brilliant presentation this morning by Bill Becker, a US policy adviser - head of the transition team task force - on environment. I'm hoping his slides will be up soon on ForceForGood (Tomorrow's Company's blog, who hosted the event). Meanwhile they do have his previous slideshow from a presentation in December here

Some of Bill's key messages were:
- climate change is real
- it is manmade
- it is doing irrevocable damage
- but what we make, we can still unmake
- forget 2050 it is really impacting our lives and economies today
- superstorms, forest fires, pine forests decimated by bugs, sea levels...
- not to invest now would lead to a much bigger debt and cost to future generations
- there is no possible excuse for doing too little or too late
- it's time for a transition, a tipping point, not incremental action
- there is a need to lead, to mobilise the public will
- the US adminstration is gearing up for this
- the cap and trade scheme is a first big step in this direction
- as is 12% of the stimulus package behind green energy and green jobs
- but the big push will probably come post copenhagen
- the era of silencing scientists and neutering the EPA is over
- already there are significant moves on CO2 being recognised as a pollutant
- and on public reporting and accountability of polluters
- politics is the art of compromise, but the climate isnt negotiating
- so we need a different politics that is stretching what is possible
- and to inspire with a vision of a better world to aim for, not just restriction

" If Obama was here what he would say is 'make us do this'."
"There is already a giant in the room and that giant is the public."

You had to be there though as always the communication was 50% content and 50% who was saying this and how he was saying it - and how inspiring those things were in themselves.

Anyway I couldn't find a video of Bill speaking, so here is a clip of his boss talking on the issue last November

Great too were Anthony Turner from Carbon Sense (the smartest people I have met on carbon analysis and carbon literacy) and Jo Fox from Sky who sponsored Bill coming over and talked about their ongoing 'Bigger Picture' initiative. Some of us were talking after about how great it was to hear a corporate sustainability head who REALLY gets it (Jo is ex environment agency) but is also working on the mass public education front with initiatives like the greening of TV show "Gladiators".

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