There is overwhelming scientific consensus that the earth is warming, this trend will worsen, and human activity is largely to blame. We must meet the challenge of global warming in ways that protect both our planet and our economy. I reject the charge that jobs must be sacrificed to environmental goals. New energy sources and new industries should generate employment and if we do not act, global warming will worsen with each new generation.
I am hopeful that President Obama will make climate change legislation a priority during his second term. In the 111th 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, with 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 was concerned that the bill's market-based approach could allow some in the financial industry to abuse the process to increase energy prices without actually improving the environment. Nonetheless, I judged the risk of not acting too great. If Congress refuses to act, 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.