US Presidential Race to ‘Heat Up’ on Climate Change Media Release

Mar 09, 2008 - 2:21pm

Former Chief of Staff to the White House Office on Environmental Policy during the Clinton-Gore Administration, Ms Cathy Zoi, today said that the Presidential election may yet spur the United States to lead the world on climate change policies – elevating the need for continued action from Australia.

While early signs were positive – with public awareness of climate change at an all-time high and candidates pledging to implement strong policies to combat it if elected - Ms Zoi said that the priority being given to addressing greenhouse was not yet clear.

Ms Zoi spoke today at a breakfast seminar hosted by The Climate Institute at the NSW Parliament House. Ms Zoi was introduced by the newly appointed NSW Minister for Climate Change, the Hon Verity Firth. Ms Zoi is now CEO of the Al Gore backed Alliance for Climate Protection.

“The world will be closely watching the outcome of the Presidential election – and it is only right that they do,” Ms Zoi said today.

“Never before in history has so much been at stake.

“We are seeing early signs that the American people may begin to voice their strong desire for change – but it may still be too early to tell.

“Candidates have announced strong policies to tackle climate change, but public mood has not yet crystallised on these matters as it did in the Australian election last year.

"The Alliance for Climate Protection's purpose is to elevate solving the climate crisis to a top priority issue. In the coming weeks we will be rolling out a massive media, grassroots and online campaign to convey the importance of addressing global warming.

"Spurring investment in new clean technologies and breaking the influence of the old energy lobby and their stranglehold over policy outcomes during the Bush Administration will still be a considerable challenge,” Ms Zoi said.

Ms Zoi said that she is optimistic that the days of US inaction on these matters may be coming to a close. The candidates of both major political parties – including Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and John McCain – had already given endorsed strong public positions on climate change.

“The message for Australia is that, when the US giant wakes up, it will move fast.  Australia should be positioning its economy to take advantage of this – there’s no hiding from the fact that the 21st century global economy has to be a low carbon economy,” Ms Zoi said.

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