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Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2008
was held in Bangkok, Thailand
12-14 November 2008

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Obama Commits U.S. to Climate Talks (editorial)
by Bill McKibben and the team

President-elect Obama just outsmarted us.

He found a way to accomplish the goal we set out for him, re-engaging the United States in the U.N. climate talks, without having to get on a plane.

Speaking via (low-carbon) video to a gathering of world leaders, Obama said that the continued existence of George Bush as president would prevent him from making the trip to Poland next month for the next round of international talks. But he'd clearly heard the call for his presence - - including the nearly 50,000 invitations you sent in from every corner of the world that came through the website.

Here's a key passage from Obama's video statement:

"Let me also say a special word to the delegates from around the world who will gather in Poland next month: your work is vital to the planet. While I won't be president at the time of your meeting and while the United States has only one president at a time, I've asked members of Congress who are attending the conference as observers to report back to me on what they learn there. And once I take office, you can be sure that the United States will once again engage vigorously in these negotiations, and help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change."

Although we wanted Obama to go to Poland in person, we're overjoyed by the words above - - and pleased to see that he's pioneering fossil-fuel free ways to communicate with the rest of the world!

Why is Obama's statement such a big success? Because for eight years the U.S. has been blocking genuine progress on an international climate deal. Now, in the middle of economic crisis and with plenty of other issues to address, President-elect Obama took the time to make a special statement committing the U.S. to positive engagement in the upcoming negotiations. His commitment will be seen as a major breakthrough by countries around the world.

You made that possible through your commitment to this campaign. Politicians don't say "special words" unless prodded, and your tens of thousands of invitations and letters to the editor did just that.

And now the task of injecting 350 ppm into the negotiations is front and center. Obama may not be going to Poland, but some of the crew behind will be--we'll keep you in the loop as world leaders negotiate our future. Together, we'll keep building this movement. Follow this link to check out some of the beautiful 350 actions from India, Chile, Costa Rica, and the USA:

Look for more email updates in the weeks to come to find out how we can keep this movement building.

Good work,

Bill McKibben and the team

P.S. This is pretty exciting news all around, if you ask us. Will you forward this on to your friends and help spread the word that the U.S. is back in the game?

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