While stumping in Nevada, Iowa on Tuesday Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards called for a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, and stricter fuel efficiency standards for automobiles to combat global warming. During his speech at a biomass energy conversion center, Edwards issued what amounted to a call for action against climate change.  

“Our generation must be the one that says, ‘we must halt global warming,'” said Edwards. “If we don’t act now, it will be too late. Our generation must be the one that says ‘yes’ to alternative, renewable fuels and ends forever our dependence on foreign oil. Our generation must be the one that accepts responsibility for conserving natural resources and demands the tools to do it. And our generation must be the one that builds the New Energy Economy. It won’t be easy, but it is time to ask the American people to be patriotic about something other than war.”

Edwards said that his energy plan could also revitalize the economy and create up to one million new jobs. “Energy not only cannot be a hindrance to the American economy, it can be the fuel for the American economy,” he said. The Edwards Energy Plan calls for, “Capping greenhouse gas pollution starting in 2010 with a cap-and-trade system, and reducing it by 15 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050, as the latest science says is needed to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.”  An Edwards administration would also lead the world to a new climate treaty, and insist that developing countries join in the effort. Edwards would share clean air technology with developing nations, and use trade agreements to make sure that they stick to their emissions reduction goals.

The Edwards Plan would also, “create a New Energy Economy Fund by auctioning off $10 billion in greenhouse pollution permits and repealing subsidies for big oil companies. The fund will support U.S. research and development in energy technology, help entrepreneurs start new businesses, invest in new carbon-capture and efficient automobile technology and help Americans conserve energy, and it would meet the demand for more electricity through efficiency for the next decade, instead of producing more electricity.”

The Edwards Plan does seem like a bundle of suggestions that have previously been made by others, but the ideas are good. I especially like the idea that combating global warming can create jobs, and lead to a better economy. Unlike what big business has to say about dealing with climate change, I don’t think any energy transition definitely has to hurt the economy. In fact with a little planning and creativity, it could lead to the development and growth of new industries. Climate change is occurring, and it must be dealt with, but everything doesn’t have to be gloom and doom. We could “save the planet” and help the economy at the same time.

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse

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