Climate change will be one of the most important issues today's generation will have to address. The most reputable scientists in the world agree that it is not only already underway, but there is still time to reduce its effects. Though the U.S. holds only 3% of the world's population, it is responsible for 25% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Congressman Kucinich believes we have a responsibility to take action. In December 2004, Congressman Kucinich was the only Democrat to attend the Conference of Parties (COP 10) in Buenos Aires, Argentina where hundreds of governments gathered to try to determine ways to address climate change. There, he made it clear to the world that the majority of Americans want their country to act to address climate change. He also met with parliamentarians from China, Great Britain, The European Union, and others to discuss possible ways forward, despite the refusal of the Bush administration to take action.
History will likely show that one of the drivers of the disastrous hurricane season of 2005 was climate change. And yet, the administration continues its resistance to taking substantive action to counter it. In addition, the unacceptable response to Hurricane Katrina alone suggested no forewarning of this kind of event. In October 2005, Congressman Kucinich submitted a resolution of inquiry, which is analogous to a legislative subpoena, requesting copies of information in the possession of the President pertaining to the effects of climate change on the coastal United States. The resolution had 150 cosponsors.
Congressman Kucinich is committed to keeping our air free from pollution. In June 2002, he testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works during the hearing: Benefits and Costs of Multi-Pollutant Legislation, on the public health and environmental benefits of the Clean Power Act. Congressman Kucinich stressed the ethics of enacting multi pollutant legislation, for air pollution adversely affects society's most vulnerable groups, including children, the elderly and those with weak immune systems. He is a cosponsor of multi-pollutant legislation introduced in the House, the Clean Smokestacks Act, which would require significant reductions in power plants by four key pollutants: mercury, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide.
In addition to working for improved clean air legislation, he has also actively opposed rollbacks of the Clean Air Act. In March 2002, he wrote to Administrator Whitman to oppose U.S. EPA's proposed direct final rule to approve Ohio EPA's weak nonattainment New Source Review program and has sent Dear Colleagues to House members opposing New Source Review rollbacks.
Congressman Kucinich believes that job creation and economic revitalization are consistent with protecting the environment. In the 105th Congress, Congressman Kucinich initiated an effort to safeguard our environment by fighting to protect the Clean Air Act and to safeguard the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tighten air quality standards. Congressman Kucinich maintained in letters to President Clinton and EPA Administrator Carol Browner that the public supports stricter clean air standards, and that these standards should be implemented without delay. The Congressman organized his colleagues by leading a campaign against an amendment to an appropriations bill that attempted to block the EPA from enforcing air quality standards. The amendment was quickly withdrawn after a bipartisan coalition in opposition was mobilized.