After explaining the need for the emergency proclamation, the President should announce the new policies most needed to deal with the emergency:
All fossil-fuel subsidies will be turned into subsidies for the various types of clean energy.
In line with what virtually all economists have recommended, a price will be put on carbon, with the price beginning low (perhaps $10 per ton of CO2) and then increasing by at least that amount every year. (Some method, such as a rebate or a dividend, will be used to prevent the carbon fee from raising overall costs to poor and middle-class citizens.) Indeed, President Obama, who long seemed to have dismissed this idea, endorsed it in his interview with Tom Friedman for "Years of Living Dangerously."
These first two policies will largely take care of a third: To remain within the carbon budget, the energy policy of "all of the above," designed to reduce dependence on foreign energy, is to be replaced with "best of the above," designed to reduce and finally eliminate fossil fuels.
The electric grid will be radically upgraded to facilitate the distribution of the various types of clean energy.
The government will help accelerate the installation of various types of clean energy, so that soon the electric grid will be based entirely on clean energy.
At the same time that the grid is becoming green, electric vehicles -- motorcycles, autos, SUVs, vans, trucks -- will be improved, so that people can travel everywhere as easily as they had with gasoline and diesel.
High-speed rail, of the types pioneered in Europe, Japan, and China, will be quickly developed, for both passengers and freight. Besides cutting down congestion, high-speed rail will eliminate the need to use airplanes for trips of only a few hundred miles.
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