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Jay Inslee: Agreement with India on climate change

With the dead weight of one hundred years of petro chemical consumption paired with the overwhelming wave of development in the Indias of the world, how can we turn the tide of global warming? As mentioned last week, I went to Mumbai with a congressional delegation in March 2008 in search of a way to build an international agreement on climate change with today's Indian leaders. In our first few days there, we had not heard particularly hopeful news from Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. When asked if India would agree to an international agreement to cap CO2 emissions, he said sure, but only at the global per capita average. Unfortunately, if India ever reaches that point, India's emissions would have risen by a factor of about ten, permanently dooming the planet. When I got on our plane to fly home, the first thing I did was engage Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a discussion of how we were going to form a partnership with India to prod them into action, and how we would do some serious consciousness-raising amongst our own colleagues. Both of these are real conundrums, the first because India is not entirely chomping at the bit to limit their CO2 emissions and second, because, many of my colleagues are still oblivious to the melting of the polar ice caps. Many of them would not "get it" on global warming if a melting ice berg slapped them in the face. So Nancy and I had a good strategic planning session on how to use the next several months in Congress to good effect. It was a small first step. But isn't that how all great journeys begin?

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Jay Inslee represents the First District of the State of Washington (Seattle area) in the United States House of Representatives. He is the co-author of Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy.