Pelosi Speech to League of Conservation Voters on Global Warming
Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at a League of Conservation Voters' dinner at Union Station in Washington this evening. Below are her remarks as prepared:
"Thank you for that kind introduction, Gene Karpinski.
"I would also like to acknowledge the leadership of Bill Roberts, Chairman of the LCV board.
"I come here tonight grateful for the powerful advocacy of the League of Conservation Voters in the fight to preserve our planet for future generations. I think it is appropriate to cite a Native American saying that, The real owners of the land are not yet born.'
"Our future generations must be first and foremost in our minds as we consider the conclusions of the scientific community: the planet is warming, human activity is responsible, and the effects are already evident around us.
"The new U.N. report on global warming in North America predicts more economic damage from severe weather, flooding along our coastlines, drought and water shortages, disruption of ecosystems, and lives lost due to heat waves, storms, infections diseases, and urban air pollution.
"We know that the effects will greater in less developed countries, and the ability to adapt will be greatly limited by poverty in those countries.
"Global warming is one of the greatest challenges we face. Its repercussions will be as global as our entire world and as local as our neighborhoods - so too must our solutions be.
"One of my first decisions as Speaker was to elevate the issue of climate change with a committee that would work across committee jurisdictions and around the world to find solutions - so I formed the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
"With the environmental champion Congressman Ed Markey as Chairman, this select committee will play a key role in raising the visibility of energy independence and global warming, informing the Congress and the public, developing policy recommendations, and assuring we make real progress in blunting the harsh consequences of global warming over the next two years.
"The committee is planning field hearings to look at the coastal impacts of climate change, hearings in Washington on topics such as the importance of state and local government involvement in climate change, and trips abroad to study evidence of global warming and meet with foreign policymakers.
"This month, the Select Committee began its hearings, which will continue throughout the 110th Congress. Last week, the committee held a hearing featuring retired generals and admirals testifying on the national security challenges of climate change.
"The committee will share its findings with the legislative committees of the House and with the public, and will make a special effort to communicate with younger Americans by using the most cutting-edge technology.
GREEN THE CAPITOL
"In tackling the challenge of global warming, the House must lead by example. It is time for Congress to act on its own carbon footprint. I applaud the efforts of Senator Barbara Boxer for taking the first step of the new Congress by converting key offices to energy efficient lighting and putting forward legislation to promote energy efficiency in federal buildings.
"Just last week, I was proud to join other House leaders in announcing a Green the Capitol Initiative,' which will result in us operating the House in a carbon neutral manner at the earliest possible date, but certainly by the end of the 110th Congress.
"With our initiative to green the Capitol, the Capitol will be not just a shining symbol of our democracy, but a symbol of our commitment to the future.
"We will adopt innovative solutions, such as purchasing 100 percent renewable electric power, ensuring wood for our furniture is sustainably harvested, and conducting a comprehensive review of our recycling initiative. We are also looking at converting the Capitol Power Plant to a combined heat and power system, which would generate electricity and useful heat at the same time, as well as ways to improve the House office building ventilation system, which will yield energy and electricity savings.
JULY 4th PACKAGE
"In the first 100 hours that House Democrats were in the majority, we passed legislation to repeal $14 billion in subsidies for Big Oil and shift those resources to investments in clean, alternative fuels, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.
"That was just the beginning of our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making America more energy independent.
"From the Agriculture Committee to the Ways and Means Committee, to everyone in between, House committees are working diligently to report significant energy and global warming legislation this summer.
"Our committees will be proposing a wide variety of solutions to our global challenges. Now that we have begun greening the Capitol, we will be working to green the federal government. We will expand and increase investments in renewable energy initiatives, including tax incentives that are essential to the continued rapid development of the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. As part of our Innovation Agenda, we will create an advanced research project to develop cutting-edge new clean-energy technologies.
"House Democratic leadership will be working hand in glove with the committees, to unveil a package for July 4th - Energy' Independence Day.
"It is so exciting to stand before you as Speaker of the House, and know that because of all our hard work together we have elected a Congress that takes real action on behalf of our beautiful planet.
"The days of rejecting the science of global warming are over, as are the days of standing idly by. We are now charging ahead to tackle one of humanity's greatest challenges yet - global warming.
"We will do this because we hold our children's future in our hands - not our grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, but our own children.
"As it says in the Old Testament, To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.'