In addition to this weeks highlights, a quick recap of last week's return to Congress by Al Gore is in order. Visiting Capitol Hill for the first time since overseeing the Senate during Bush's inauguration in 2001, Al Gore completed a celebrity return and made the case before key panels in the US government for sweeping federal action on global warming. His ten key recommendations were:
1. An immediate "carbon freeze" that would cap U.S. CO2 emissions at current levels, followed by a program to generate 90% reductions by 2050.
2. Start a long-term tax shift to reduce payroll taxes and increase taxes on CO2 emissions.
3. Put aside a portion of carbon tax revenues to help low-income people make the transition.
4. Create a strong international treaty by working toward "de facto compliance with Kyoto" and moving up the start date for Kyoto's successor from 2012 to 2010.
5. Implement a moratorium on construction of new coal-fired power plants that are not compatible with carbon capture and sequestration.
6. Create an "ELECTRANET" -- a smart electricity grid that allows individuals and businesses to feed power back in at prevailing market rates.
7. Raise CAFE (auto emissions) standards.
8. Set a date for a ban on incandescent light bulbs.
9. Create "Connie Mae," a carbon-neutral mortgage association, to help defray the upfront costs of energy-efficient building.
10. Have the SEC require disclosure of carbon emissions in corporate reporting, as a relevant "material risk."
Despite wrong doings in 2001 that led to George Bush taking office, the course of history may look back to consider Al Gore's thwarted presidential bid an unlikely moment of good fortune. Free from the shackles of campaign management and the political tight rope, Gore has been able to champion an undiluted and passionate campaign for solving global warming. His uncompromising testimony in Washington further reinforces that commitment, while silencing critics who have dismissed his high profile environmental message as lead in to another run at the presidency.
Maybe one day Gore will run again, but his growing international leadership in this single issue will keep him on the international stage and drive change far more effectively than the special interests of Washington would ever allow.
Let Hillary have the White House. Gore has more important work to do....for now.