There is overwhelming scientific consensus that the earth is warming, that this trend will worsen, and that human activity is largely to blame. We must make addressing global warming a priority so that our environment and our economy will not be negatively impacted. If we do not act, global warming will worsen with each new generation.
I am very encouraged that President Obama has made climate change legislation a priority for his Administration. In the last Congress, the House passed landmark legislation that seeks to address global climate change and significantly increase our energy independence. The House legislation, H.R. 2454, set a series of caps on greenhouse gas emissions, setting a target of emissions 83% below 2005 levels by 2050. I worked hard to try and strengthen this bill, but as you can imagine getting a measure that could pass the House was not an easy task. I did have a concern that the market-based approach taken by this legislation could allow some in the financial industry to abuse the process to increase energy prices without actually improving the environment, but the risk of not acting is too great. If Congress refuses to act, than I would support the President taking appropriate steps, through rule making and existing authorities, to slow global climate change.
We need to move to a climate-friendly economy as cost-effectively and as quickly as possible. In the long term, we must fundamentally transform the way we power the global economy, and our goal must be to steadily reduce our reliance on coal and oil. Instead, we must adopt clean sources of energy that can provide the power we need without endangering our climate.
During my tenure in Congress, I have worked to promote energy efficiency, encourage the development of renewable energy sources, and increase conservation. It is also important to support climate change research and develop standards for measuring greenhouse gas emissions so we can better understand historic climate change and analyze future events.