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Today, President Obama chose the occasion of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, to send a conciliatory message to the people and leaders of Iran. A spokesperson for Iranian President Ahmadinejad responded immediately with a positive message.
The airwaves have recently been filled with advertisements heralding a plethora of clean energy technologies. GE promoted its smart grid technologies in a Wizard of Oz-themed Super Bowl ad. Vestas, the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world, has branded itself No. 1 in Modern Energy. Various groups have designed commercials touting the potential of "clean coal," including a GE ad featuring models-turned-miners (tagline: "Harnessing the power of coal is looking more beautiful every day."). And environmental groups have struck back against the branding of coal as "clean" with satirical advertisements (tagline: "Clean coal harnesses the awesome power of the word ‘clean!’". In this maelstrom of marketing, who can say which clean energy technology is best?
In early 2009, before the inauguration of President Obama, Kim Elliott and I decided it was time to think seriously and coherently about the future direction of U.S. trade policy, especially as it relates to developing countries.
Nearly two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine whether greenhouse gases (GHGs) pose a threat to peoples’ health or welfare – the first step toward regulation -- the EPA this week issued a draft rule on a national GHG registry:
The Executive Order signed by President Obama this week creating the White House Council on Women and Girls signals that the Administration recognizes that special consideration is warranted to make sure government policies and programs don't reinforce discrimination against women and girls -- and in some instances should spur extra efforts to overcome gender-related economic and social
Based on the testimony of USTR-designate Ron Kirk this week before the Senate Finance Committee - brief though it was - the Obama Administration is moving in an entirely different direction than we have seen over the last eight years. The concept of a "progressive trade agenda for America," though as yet undefined, certainly suggests that the administration will be looking at the global economy from a very different perspective.
The accelerating downward spiral in the global economy has made me increasingly convinced that the G20 leaders gathering at the London Summit in early April should announce that they stand ready to provide up to $1 trillion to help developing countries to cope with the crisis over the next two years. This wouldn't be a handout, but an important part of a global stimulus package. It's in the rich world's own self-interest to anticipate the developing world's financing needs and to put in place the necessary resources. To do so is both a moral and a security imperative.