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Kerry: After 3 Years of Delay, Lawsuits, Administration Finally Releases Climate Change Assessment

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Kerry: After 3 Years of Delay, Lawsuits, Administration Finally Releases Climate Change Assessment

In Next Week's Climate Change Debate, Kerry Amendments will Advance Climate Change Solutions

As the Bush Administration finally released a key climate change report three years after its required release date, Sen. Kerry today addressed the Administration's report and stressed the urgency of a major policy change to combat global climate change.

As a result of Kerry-led legislation passed in 1990, current law requires a federal assessment of global climate change to be released every four years. The Administration only agreed to release the report after a court order forced the White House to comply with this existing statute. Senator Kerry intervened in this lawsuit to force the Administration to abide by its obligations and release this assessment and other essential climate science information.

"The three-year delay of this report is sadly fitting for an administration that has wasted seven years denying the real threat of global climate change. In these lost years, we could have slowed global warming and advanced clean energy solutions, but instead America's climate change strategy has been at best rhetorical, not real. Now this report is another reminder that we're behind the eight ball," said Senator Kerry. "Within the next decade, if we don't deal with global warming, our children and grandchildren will have to deal with global catastrophe. We need to stop the delays and the denial and take action now. Next week the Senate will have the chance to go on record doing what this Administration has opposed so long and so vigorously - providing solutions not slogans to this crisis."

When the Senate next week debates the Warner-Lieberman climate change bill, Sen. Kerry plans to offer amendments to support the coordinated implementation of a national response to climate change. The amendment will be a combination of three bills that the Commerce Committee reported favorably on December 4, 2007. The 3 bills would be S. 2307, the Global Change Research Improvement Act of 2007, introduced by Senators Kerry and Snowe; S. 2355, the Climate Change Adaptation Act, introduced by Senator Cantwell, and S. 1581, the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2007, introduced by Senators Lautenberg and Cantwell.

S. 2307, the Global Change Research Improvement Act of 2007, would:

* improve the basic research and products the Federal government develops to address climate change and its impacts;
* increase the relevance of the Global Change Research Program to State, local, and non-governmental decision makers;
* establish a new National Climate Service within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA);
* reinstate a Science and Technology Assessment Service within the legislative branch;
* authorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology to provide improved technologies for measuring greenhouse gas emissions; and
* establish a scientific research program on abrupt climate change.

S. 2355, the Climate Change Adaptation Act, would:

* require the President to provide the Congress with a national strategic plan to address the impacts of climate change within the United States;
* require the Secretary of Commerce to conduct regional assessments to identify key vulnerabilities of coastal and ocean areas and resources from hazards associated with climate change and ocean acidification;
* require the Secretary of Commerce to prepare an agency-specific coastal and ocean adaptation plan for NOAA that would address coastal and ocean impacts of climate change; and
* establish a grant program through the existing Coastal Zone Management Act grant process to support coastal States in the development and implementation of State plans.

Finally, S. 1581, the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act, would:

* establish or designate an interagency committee to develop and provide Congress with a strategic research and implementation plan on ocean acidification and to coordinate activities across Federal agencies; and
* establish an ocean acidification program within NOAA to implement activities consistent with the strategic plan, including research and long-term monitoring, education and outreach, and development of adaptation strategies and techniques for conserving marine ecosystems .

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