Today Green America participated in the White House Leadership Summit on Women, Climate, and Energy. More than 100 women leaders from across the country gathered in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to share information and strategies for promoting clean energy, cutting carbon emissions, mitigating climate change impacts on the most vulnerable populations, and developing messages and actions that will resonate with a majority of Americans.
Participants represented civil society organizations, academia, business, government agencies, and philanthropy. The new U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, addressed the group on what was his third day in office. He stated that science requires that we respond to climate change and reminded everyone that the 400 parts per million of CO2 now measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii does not include non-CO2 greenhouse gases – so the danger is even greater. Many scientists worldwide believe 350 parts per million is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
Former astronaut Dr. Kathy Sullivan discussed how seeing Earth from orbit really makes one understand how much time we waste on boundaries that divide us – when there is only one “we” – we Earthlings.
The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham of Interfaith Power and Light acknowledged the magnitude of the challenge before us and asked, “What is the difference between hope and optimism?” She said, “Hope is a verb, with your sleeves rolled-up.” So we must all roll-up our sleeves and take all the actions we can to reduce carbon pollution and promote renewable energy and efficiency — immediately.
As Green America’s policy director, I was able to introduce the potential of Clean Energy Victory Bonds as an innovative financing mechanism for clean energy and efficiency and will be following up with new contacts from the event to advance the bond.
The Summit was hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the White House Council on Women and Girls, and the White House Office of Public Engagement.