California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to push environmental issues to the forefront - this time by holding a conference in Los Angeles with governors and international representatives (see link/video). Preparing for hoped-for progress from a new administration, the Governor is looking for consensus that will help push the U.S. into a more leadership position in the battle to address global warming. That would most likely mean a new Kyoto Protocol treaty - one in which the U.S. plays a more positive role.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the conference was presented with a video message from President-elect Obama. Regarding the upcoming Kyoto Protocol talks to resume in Poland, Obama said:
"Once I take office, you can be sure that the United States will once again engage vigorously in these negotiations. . . . Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response."
On the flip side, the L.A. Times also reported that the Environmental Protection Agency plans to weaken the exisiting regulations regarding clean air in national parks, making it easier for the construction or operation of nearby coal and oil refineries - all to the objection of many of the EPA's own senior officials and experts. For some time, the current administration has been using the EPA to run roughshod over the objections of its own experts. Hopefully that will change with the changing of the guard.
Couple steps forward; couple steps back. Let's make sure the new administration moves forward in the right direction. They seem well-intentioned but we must be vigilant.