UPDATE (below): Sen. Kerry embraces a 350 ppm target.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Democratic New York senator vowed to make energy policy a central part of the State Department’s diplomatic mission. She also said the State Department under President-elect Barack Obama will participate in the U.N. negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, aimed at finalizing a new global emissions treaty by the end of the year.
“We will pursue an energy policy that reduces our carbon emissions while reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” Clinton told the panel.
Clinton, of course, made energy and climate issues a centerpiece of her campaign(see “Clinton’s outstanding energy and climate plan“). She will be a key play in Obama’s cabinet on these issues (see “Stuff I learned at DOE, Part 1: SOS trumps NSA (Hillary Clinton trumps Gen. Jones”). The story makes clear that Senate leaders on both sides understand the importance of energy and climate to international policy:
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who replaces Vice President-elect Joe Biden (D-Del.) as chairman of the foreign relations panel, said he believes climate change needs to be a top-tier State Department issue and said it would be a central issue for his committee this year.
“Many today do not see global climate change as a national security threat, but it is, and profoundly so,” Kerry said.
Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the panel’s top Republican, said energy policy overall must be given “a much higher priority in our diplomacy.” Noting the energy squeeze that Russian President Vladimir Putin is putting on Europe, Lugar noted that energy vulnerability “constrains our diplomatic ability around the world.”
“Energy security must be at the top of our agenda with nearly every country,” Lugar said.
UPDATE: Bill McKibben emails me that Kerry (like Gore) has embraced 350 ppm (see “Stabilize at 350 ppm or risk ice-free planet, warn NASA, Yale, Sheffield, Versailles, Boston et al“). Perhaps even more amazingly, this news made Maureen Dowd’s column:
After his windy discourse on how scientists had “revised the levels of supportable greenhouse gas emissions from 550 parts per million to 450 to now 350,” Hillary replied: “You are eloquent in describing it, and you’ve been a leader in trying to sound the alarm on it for many years.”
Yes, Dowd is snarky — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but the mere fact that it made her usually substance-free column is a pretty big deal.
- Obama: “The science is beyond dispute… Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response.”
- Why Biden is such an important pick for those who care about the climate
- Carol Browner to oversee energy and climate at the White House
- Top 5 reasons Chu is a great energy pick — #1: “It’s not guaranteed we have a solution for coal”
- Obama picks a green jobs leader for Labor Secretary: Hilda Solis
- For NOAA head, Obama appoints yet another scientist who gets climate
- Obama’s strongest message on climate yet: John Holdren to be named Science Adviser