U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a member of the Senate environment and energy committees and the sponsor of legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, issued the following statement on Monday's observation of Earth Day:
"Unless we take bold action to reverse climate change, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to look back on this period in history and ask a very simple question: "Where were they? Why didn't the United States of America lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community was sure would come?'
"The leading scientists in the world who study climate change now tell us that their earlier projections were wrong. The crisis facing our planet is much worse than they had thought only a few years ago. Twelve out of the last 15 years ranked as the warmest on record in the United States. Now, scientists say that our planet could be 8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer or more by the end of this century if we take no decisive action to transform our energy system and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
"Legislation that I introduced with the support of leading environmental organizations in the country can actually address the crisis and do what has to be done to protect the planet. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, co-sponsored the bill that would reverse greenhouse gas emissions in a significant way. It also would help create millions of jobs as we transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and such sustainably energies as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass.
"If we are serious about protecting the planet and improving our economy, America's energy future must focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. If we are successful in transforming our energy system to sustainable sources of energy, we can be a model for the world in addressing the great planetary crisis of global warming and ensure a safer future for children and grandchildren."