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Clinton Global Initiative -- Energy & Climate Change

September 27, 2007

Every three days, somewhere in the world a new coal-fired power plant comes on line. At current melt rates, the arctic ice sheet could be completely gone in twenty-three years. The United States accounts for 25 percent of the world's carbon emissions but will soon be overtaken as the leading source of carbon emissions by China.

All four issue areas at this year's CGI event -- Education, Energy & Climate Change, Global Health, and Poverty Alleviation -- are important and require urgent action. But according to many of the politicians, business leaders, and experts present, only one of these challenges, climate change, has the potential to fundamentally alter life on the planet. From former Vice President Al Gore calling global warming a "planetary emergency" at yesterday's opening plenary and his call for a Global Carbon Marshall Plan focused on building twenty-first century economies on a carbon-reduction platform, to Woods Hole Research Center director John Holdren stating flatly at a working session this morning that the question is not whether we can stop global warming but whether we can "reduce catastrophic global climate disruption," the urgency of this issue, for this group of people, is palpable. (Holdren went so far as to say that global C02 emissions need to peak at 450 parts per million by 2020 -- and steadily decline thereafter -- if we are to avoid catastrophe and preserve the integrity of the global environment; unfortunately, emissions since 1990 have been accelerating.)

You can learn more about what CGI members have pledged to do about the climate challenge here.

-- Mitch Nauffts

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