Senators and Environmental Leaders Gather and Signal Unity for Action on Global Warming Legislation

Senators, Environmental Leaders Discuss Pending Climate Legislation
WASHINGTON (March 12, 2008) -- The call for action on global warming is coming from all segments of America. A big tent that includes faith leaders, sportsmen, doctors, community leaders and others are calling for action. Americans recognize this is not just an environmental issue, but a moral and societal issue. Senators and leaders from environmental organizations gathered today to discuss their plans for the Climate Security Act of 2007.

"The clean, efficient energy solutions needed to curb global warming constitute a huge economic opportunity for this country. The environmental community is unified on the urgent need to strengthen the Climate Security Act and pass comprehensive global warming legislation that cuts emissions by unlocking this potential," said Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "The groups gathered today represent tens of millions of Americans committed to protecting ourselves, our children and grandchildren from the worst impacts of global warming. All the environmental groups are committed to solving the problem of global warming fairly and effectively."

"The science is clear on the need to cut global warming pollution swiftly and dramatically," said Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Now is the time for policymakers to put an economy-wide system in place to reduce emissions that will expand clean energy, produce jobs and increase community investment."

"This Congress received a mandate for a new direction in no small part because the American people were frustrated by a lack of leadership on energy policy by the previous Congress," said Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters. "Last year it took the first step toward fulfilling that mandate by raising CAFÉ standards. Now, in the face of an economy dragged down by $100-plus per barrel crude, record oil company profits and a growing recognition of the need for immediate action on global warming, 2008 will be a year when the American people expect more. The best thing members of Congress can do this year -- for the future of the planet, consumers, and the economy -- is to support a strong global warming bill that achieves the emissions reductions the science shows are necessary."

"Action on global warming is urgently needed, but we also believe that any bill passed by Congress and signed into law must be a strong one," said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. "A bill must do what science demands; ensure that polluters pay; aid workers and affected communities with a just transition; and prioritize and aggressively pursue energy efficiency, renewables and other technologies that offer the cleanest, cheapest, and safest emissions reductions. We are working with our allies on the Hill and will continue to mount a vigorous campaign to strengthen this bill at every possible opportunity. We are also unified in our efforts to defeat any weakening changes like direct subsidies for nuclear power, a so-called 'safety valve' provision, and any other changes that would take this bill backward."

"Congress must act quickly to address global warming, but it is just as important that we act boldly," said Environment America Executive Director Margie Alt. "Our country's response to global warming must be proportionate to the challenge confronting us. This bill must be strengthened to reduce pollution as quickly and deeply as the science requires and to set up the economic framework that will deter pollution, protect consumers, and adequately invest in the transition to a clean energy economy."

"Virtually every week new evidence comes forward making clear the urgency of strong action on global warming. We need significant emissions reductions, and we need them now. Delaying only means higher costs and a greater chance we will fail to achieve the goal," said Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund.

"It is vital that Congress pass strong legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions and we're grateful to those congressional leaders who have championed the issue," Wilderness Society President William H. Meadows said. "Legislation must provide the means for helping some of our most environmentally sensitive, much-loved public lands adapt to climate change. Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to the ecological integrity of our nation's national parks, forests, wilderness areas and wildlife refuges and to the plants, animals and people who rely on them."

"Global warming is the single biggest threat to wildlife, and every year we wait to address it creates a bigger problem for our children and the future of America's natural resources," said Larry Schweiger, CEO, National Wildlife Federation. "Congress must pass strong legislation that starts us on the path to cutting global warming pollution by at least two percent a year, protects consumers as we transition to a new energy future, and defends America's natural resources from the climate changes already underway."

"The ocean provides the air we breathe and the protein much of the world consumes and while the ocean is essential for life, it will be among the first ecosystems to suffer the effects of global warming. Now is the time to act," said Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of Ocean Conservancy. "With our economy on the brink of recession, our elected leaders have a responsibility to address threats from global warming to protect vulnerable natural resources that our country depends on and create new energy jobs - what is good for the environment is good for our economy."

"In towns, cities and states across this nation, elected representatives - Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike - are heeding the warnings from the scientific community and are tackling the climate challenge. It is time for Washington to step up to the plate and implement a national framework for cutting carbon emissions," said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund. "I applaud Chairman Boxer and Senators Lieberman and Warner for their leadership in crafting this bill and steering it through Congress. While we will continue our work to strengthen some of its provisions, the Lieberman-Warner bill demonstrates our serious commitment to addressing global warming and puts the U.S. one step closer to regaining the trust and respect of the international community on this vitally important issue."

"The sooner Congress begins full debate on global warming, the sooner we will be able to pass legislation that addresses the greatest environmental challenge of our time," said John Flicker, President of National Audubon Society. "I applaud Senators Boxer, Lieberman and Warner for their steadfast leadership. Without them, we would have little hope of making real progress this year."

"We are mobilizing citizens to support clean energy choices and aggressive action on global warming," said Clean Water Action President John DeCock. "The bill should be strengthened to achieve the reductions science tells us are needed, to limit polluter give-aways and to promote energy choices that protect water resources while building strong local economies. These goals can not be met if the reduction targets and other provisions of this bill are weakened or if further subsidies for nuclear, coal and other unsustainable energy sources are added."

"The more we learn about the impacts that global warming is already having on America's wildlife, the more apparent it becomes that we must act now, both to curb emissions of greenhouse gases and to provide the means to help wildlife survive global warming's effects," said Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife. "It is essential that Congress move quickly to enact strong legislation to address both these goals."

Supporting organizations:
Center for International Law
Clean Water Action
Defenders of Wildlife
Environment America
Environmental Defense
League of Conservation Voters
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Ocean Conservancy
Pew Environment Group
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Sierra Club
Union of Concerned Scientists
The Wilderness Society
World Wildlife Fund