Following President Obama's recent statement in his inaugural address that failing to respond to the threat of climate change would "betray our children and future generations," Rep. Henry A. Waxman and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse today announced the formation of a bicameral Task Force on Climate Change to address this important issue.
The Task Force will be co-chaired by Rep. Waxman, the Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. Whitehouse, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It will be dedicated to focusing Congressional and public attention on climate change and developing effective policy responses, and will be open to all other Members of Congress interested in collaborating on this issue.
"Congress and the public need to understand that climate change impacts are turning out worse than expected and our window to act is closing," said Rep. Waxman. "This threat is not waiting until we are ready to deal with it. That is why I am pleased to join with Senator Whitehouse to work to educate our colleagues and all Americans about the magnitude of the problem and the urgency of the threat we are confronting."
"I'm honored to join Representative Waxman in this effort," said Senator Whitehouse. "Carbon pollution is wreaking havoc on our atmosphere and on our oceans, and it's time to bring all hands on deck as we seek to meet that challenge. We intend this new group to bring the attention and energy to the issue necessary to get something done. I look forward to working with President Obama, Chairman Boxer in the Senate, and any of our other colleagues who wish to join us."
As a first order of business in the new Task Force, Reps. Waxman and Ed Markey and Sen. Whitehouse today sent a letter to President Obama applauding his recognition of climate change in his inaugural address, pledging to stand with him in the fight to address this issue, and urging him to develop a comprehensive climate change plan as expeditiously as possible.
In the weeks and months ahead, Rep. Waxman and Sen. Whitehouse will convene meetings of the Task Force, seek relevant information, and release periodic reports, memoranda, and correspondence to advance the group's goal of increasing awareness and developing policy responses to climate change.