We Can't Afford to Wait for Climate Action

The clean energy and climate legislation so vital to our country has been temporarily delayed. We need to get it back on track. We can’t afford to lose any more time.

Americans want action on legislation that will create jobs, cut our oil imports in half and reduce the carbon pollution that threatens us all.

Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman responded to that desire and labored for months to bring legislation forward.  Political leaders from both parties – in the Congress, in the White House and the states – have worked hard to forge a broad consensus for change. Business and labor leaders, national security experts, environmentalists and others want to move forward into the clean energy future we need.

And the rest of the world is watching. Our friends are counting on us for the leadership needed to find global solutions to climate change. And our rivals are hoping for the kind of inaction that will keep our workers on the sidelines while foreign competitors reap the benefits and claim the jobs from the clean energy technology of tomorrow.

We can’t sit by and watch this happen. Americans don’t want our role in the global arena to shrink. From businesses to state houses, union halls to kitchen tables, people are demanding cleaner energy and real climate action.

The question is: Will Congress hear this call and press forward with legislation? Will our lawmakers deliver the bill that will put Americans back to work, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create a healthier future for us all?

I urge Senators on both sides of the aisle and the White House to sit down without delay and work out a path forward that ensures strong climate and energy legislation is signed into law this year. Our future demands no less.

Done right, this bill will strike a blow against the most pressing environmental and humanitarian challenge of our time--climate change.

It will also create nearly 2 million jobs for workers--carpenters in Missouri, electricians in Pennsylvania, steelworkers in Indiana, machinists in Ohio, wind turbine technicians in South Carolina--good-paying jobs coast to coast that can't be shipped overseas.

And it could cut our oil imports in half and position America to dominate the global clean energy market, which is expected to attract $230 billion in annual investment by 2020.

By promoting the development of the next generation of energy efficient cars, homes, and workplaces, this legislation will put us, as a nation, back on track for growth.

Still, I know a tough legislative battle lies ahead. But after all that Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman have invested in creating this bipartisan legislation, a path to success remains.