The morning started off with a bang. Governor Schwarzenegger highlighted California's leadership on climate change over the past decade and then introduced the video from President-elect Obama. Looking very presidential, Obama enunciated an unambiguous commitment to enacting a federal cap and trade program with tight annual caps leading to an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. The contrast with President Bush's stance on climate change was abundantly evident to everyone. It was the first time I've ever seen a standing ovation for a video.
I'm at the Summit with NRDC's new Western Director, Felicia Marcus, who as far as I can tell knows (and is loved by) virtually everyone at the Summit. Though she's only been on staff two weeks, it's apparent she's a tremendous addition to our staff. Also from NRDC at the Summit are Audrey Chang and Kristin Grenfell who work on energy and climate issues from the San Francisco office. It's a pleasure to work with three such competent and intelligent women.
For me, the most striking thing about the Summit so far is the sense of eager commitment and collaboration among the attendees. I think the impending adoption of the AB32 Scoping Plan next month combined with the election results (a mere two weeks ago) have given the climate community a renewed sense of energy and possibility. Lots of speakers at climate change conferences begin their presentation with the claim that, despite the challenges, they're an optimist. I've always thought of it as something of a throwaway line, but today? Not so much.