President Obama’s climate announcement reminded everyone what is at stake—the fate of our planet and what we are leaving behind for our children. The centerpiece of this plan is cutting carbon pollution from power plants, the largest single step this President can take to protect future generations from the ravishes of unmitigated climate change.
The President’s call to action was immediately embraced in a flood of statements by dozens of Members of Congress. Senators, Representatives, caucuses and coalitions from every part of the Union expressed their support for tackling climate change. This outpouring underscores that from California to New Jersey, from Hawaii to Colorado, our elected-leaders stand ready to support the President in protecting their constituents from the impacts of climate change they are already experiencing first hand and ensuring our children inherit a safer, cleaner, healthier world.
Here is what a few of them had to say:
Senator Reid (NV): "I agree with President Obama: We need to end the limitless dumping of carbon pollution into our air. In recent years, Americans have endured devastating droughts, wildfires and floods, while our coastal communities have been battered by destructive storms. These extreme weather events hurt our economy and exact a terrible human toll.
Senator Murray (WA): “The President’s Climate Action Plan will help reduce the dangers posed to future generations of Washingtonians by carbon emissions, and I look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to continue to address climate change and create a comprehensive energy plan for our future.”
Senator Tester (MT): “As a farmer, I’ve seen firsthand the effects of climate change. In the last three years alone, we’ve seen extreme flood, drought and wildfire wreak havoc across Montana. It is clear that we must address climate change. I’m glad the President is kicking off this discussion and I look forward to more details.”
Senator Carper (DE): “The harmful effects of climate change, specifically sea-level rise and extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy, pose a unique and serious threat to my coastal home state of Delaware, as well as several of our neighbors along the coast and, really, our entire country. This is an issue we can no longer afford to ignore. That’s why I welcome the President’s announcement of a comprehensive plan to stem the tide of climate change. This is an important step, and it’s time for members of both parties, as well as leaders in the private sector, to work together to enact common-sense environmental protections that are good for both our earth and our economy.”
Senator Blumenthal (CT): “President Obama’s speech today is an important step in refocusing our national attention on the critical issue of climate change. Anyone who questions whether we must act needs not look beyond the recent rash of unprecedented severe weather events that have devastated communities across the country. From Superstorm Sandy, which wrought havoc in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, to last month’s lethal, destructive Oklahoma tornados, severe, large-scale weather is the new normal. Our federal government needs to take common sense measures such as increasing energy efficiency standards and working with local communities in Connecticut to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. Without our immediate attention and this effort from President Obama, we will continue to suffer the effects of inaction.”
Senator Gillibrand (NY): “There is no doubt that climate change is real and that it is here. In New York, we had two 'storms of the century' one year apart. We can’t pretend that climate change is not happening and hope it will go away on its own. We have to take this issue head on and I commend President Obama for taking action, and heeding our call to cap carbon pollution from both new and existing power plants.”
Senator Heinrich (NM): "Climate change is not theoretical. In New Mexico we're seeing bigger fires, drier summers, and less snowpack in the winter. It's morally imperative that we embrace the challenge of reversing the effects of climate change and lead the world in innovation and clean energy, using science as our guide to making solid policy decisions.”
Senator Bennet (CO): “Colorado’s economy is already feeling the effects of a changing climate – whether it’s a shorter ski season, the constant threat of wildfire or a multi-year drought imperiling our $40 billion dollar agriculture industry. At the same time, our state is a national leader in energy efficiency, alternative fuels and generating electricity from cleaner and more diverse sources.”
Senator Merkley (OR): “I applaud President Obama for acting to take on our most pressing global challenge. Already we are beginning to see the devastating effects of climate change. In Oregon, we have suffered from historic wildfires, ocean acidification that threatens the livelihoods of oyster farmers, and three terrible droughts in the Klamath Basin since 2001. Further inaction is unacceptable.
Senator Franken (MN): "Severe weather patterns exacerbated by climate change are costing taxpayers a lot of money now, and it's only going to get worse over time. The President's commitment to fight climate change is the right thing to do for present and future generations."
House Minority Leader Pelosi (CA): “President Obama’s comprehensive strategy to confront climate change and carbon pollution is a necessary, critical step forward that will strengthen our economy, create jobs at home, protect children’s health, and save money for consumers, businesses, and taxpayers. This ‘Climate Action Plan’ is central to promoting American-made energy and to keeping America number one in innovation and clean energy.”
House Minority Whip Hoyer (MD): “As Americans have witnessed the increasing frequency of deadly storms like Hurricane Sandy and the stifling heat that has led to devastating droughts, there can be no denying the impact of climate change on our environment, our economy, and our national security. The plan put forward by President Obama this afternoon demonstrates our nation’s commitment to taking our climate and energy future into our own hands by investing in innovative, advanced-energy technologies while placing sensible limits on carbon pollution and preparing our communities for the impacts of a changing climate.”
Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change: “Today the Co-Chairs of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change applauded President Obama’s plans to address climate change by limiting carbon pollution from existing and new power plants, developing new fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks, and setting new efficiency targets for appliances and buildings. The plan also provides financial assistance for carbon capture and storage projects and sets a new goal for the deployment of renewable energy on public lands. Finally, the plan will help American communities prepare for the effects of climate change that are already occurring and will strengthen our nation’s leadership on international efforts to combat global climate change.”
Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (made up of 51 representatives): “SEEC welcomes the President’s plan to reduce carbon pollution and curb the impacts of climate change. The effects of climate change are already beginning to show, evidenced by recent extreme wildfires, floods, droughts, and hurricanes, and are coming at a high cost to the American people. Addressing this issue is a moral and fiscal imperative….While far too many in Congress question settled science, climate change will not yield to partisan gridlock. Addressing this issue is part of our moral responsibility to protect the health and welfare of current and future generations. SEEC Members will continue to fight for policies in Congress that will address climate change, and will press for action. The time to act is now and we applaud the President’s leadership.”
This sampling of statements couldn’t make clearer that inaction is no longer an option.