Here’s something to celebrate as we begin a new year: With Oregon’s decision to adopt clean-car standards late in December, all three West Coast states will be implementing this landmark program for reducing global warming pollution simultaneously, beginning with the 2009 model year. Six other states—including Massachusetts, which signed on last week—have also adopted the stronger standards.

This is a great example of the groundswell of state and local action that stood in stark contrast to the posture of federal negotiators during the recent UN Climate Conference in Montreal. While the negotiators walked out, a new America walked in for the world to see: States, cities, businesses, and citizens from all over the United States who are committed to this urgent campaign for solutions. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was an especially strong ambassador for this new US engagement.

As 2006 begins, I remember what Frances Moore Lappe said: "Hope is a stance, not a calculation." But here’s my calculation anyway: Across a very wide spectrum of our society, a consensus is emerging that we must end our dependence on fossil fuels and accelerate the clean energy transition, and it’s our generation’s job to do it. You can see it in Olympia and Salem and Boise and D.C., with electeds from both sides of the aisle clamoring to support new energy security initiatives. This issue will feature prominently in midterm elections. This is the beginning.