U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) issued the following statement in response to President Obama's announcement of a national strategy on climate change.
"The science of climate change is real and deserves to be taken seriously. It is happening right now, and it will have significant and substantial implications for our country and our planet. Continued ignorance of the impacts of climate change only dooms future generations to environmental and economic consequences unlike any that humanity has faced before. The impacts of climate change are already being felt in communities around the country, including many in Delaware still recovering from the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy.
"President Obama today laid out a strategy that wisely confronts both sides of the climate change equation: mitigation and adaptation.
"If we are to slow the impacts of climate change on our communities, we have to reduce the level of damaging carbon emissions that we are pumping into the atmosphere. The President's plan sets ambitious goals for carbon reductions and offers a diverse strategy for meeting them. As a Congressional Vice Chair of the Alliance to Save Energy, I applaud the President's inclusion of new energy-efficiency standards in that strategy. As a first step, Congress can support this effort by also passing the voluntary, consensus-based policies in the Energy Savings and Industrial Competiveness Act -- better known as "Shaheen-Portman' -- of which I am a cosponsor, and the bipartisan Weatherization Enhancement, and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act, which I introduced with Senators Collins and Reed last week.
"The President's plan also calls for a government-wide review of the nation's energy needs and capabilities, like the one proposed in the Quadrennial Energy Review Act that I introduced with Senator Pryor earlier this year. I also applaud the President's renewed commitment to improving fuel economy standards. The President's plan commits to partnering with industry and stakeholders to develop fuel economy standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles and further reduce reliance on foreign oil and fuel consumption. I agree that biofuels -- particularly advanced second-generation biofuels -- can and should play a significant role in increasing our nation's energy security.
"The plan President Obama laid out today also soberly acknowledges that even if we were to stop all carbon emissions on the planet, we would still need to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This realism is appropriate and appreciated.
"Regional differences make a one-size-fits-all approach to adaptation impossible. By ordering the federal government to remove barriers and "counterproductive' policies that make it harder for communities to adapt, President Obama is helping communities prepare in their own ways. The President's strategy also leverages lessons learned during Superstorm Sandy and recent droughts in the Midwest to strengthen communities' resilience to extreme weather.
"We may not be able to fully stop climate change, but we can take steps to slow it down and lessen its impact. We must make sure our economy is ready to compete in the growing clean energy market. In addition to the plan President Obama laid out today, Congress should reauthorize the America COMPETES Act to ensure that the pace of our basic and applied research accelerates. Congress should also do more to level the playing field for renewables by passing the bipartisan Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act, which would spur the growth of the domestic market and create domestic demand for our manufacturers. These legislative initiatives will help reduce greenhouse gases and will additionally spur American innovation and technology, economic development, and job creation.
"I applaud President Obama for taking the initiative with the strategy he laid out today. Confronting climate change is not just about protecting our planet -- it's also about protecting the health of our children and the strength of our communities. We have a responsibility to our planet, to each other, and to future generations to do our very best to slow this process and to help our planet survive."