By Rep. Michael Honda, D-Calif.US Representative, Silicon Valley
International negotiators at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change should not give up on achieving a multilateral, global approach to emission reductions. Currently underway in Doha, Qatar, negotiations are attempting to reach an agreement that will preserve the accomplishments of The Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of this month.
The impending expiration of the 1997 international agreement, which commits nearly 40 nations to greenhouse-gas reductions, should provide an even greater incentive and urgency for an agreement to be reached. So too should this latest article by National Journal energy and environment correspondent Coral Davenport titled "It's Already Too Late to Stop Climate Change," which appeared in print appropriately titled "The Climate Cliff".
A healthy planet is in the best interest of everyone and should certainly be a top-priority for every country. Evidence of rapid climate change is visible the world over and with increasing frequency.
This year alone, the U.S. has experienced dramatic temperatures and acts of nature. As a whole, the nation averaged 4 degrees fahrenheit above the average temperature for the year, witnessed disastrous storms such as Hurricane Sandy, and experienced crippling drought throughout more than 60 percent of the county.
The public gets it. A study conducted this fall by the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University indicates that 70 percent of Americans believe that global warming is real, while the number who say it is not happening has declined to just 12 percent.
There are calls for President Obama to take on a stronger leadership role in the negotiations process at the Climate Change convention, but I believe that America as a whole should accept that challenge.
We must step up as a global leader in clean energy and green technologies, show the world what can be accomplished when put to task, and encourage others to do the same.
There is too much at stake to put this off. We need a comprehensive, actionable, long-term plan for dealing with global climate change and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. But no one country can do it alone. We all occupy the same planet and without a synchronized, concerted effort from all countries, the attempts of any one nation alone would be futile. Therefore, we must not and cannot abandon negotiations for a global approach. The future of our planet lies in Doha this week. The time to act, then, is now.Collapse