Casey on Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. -U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement at today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing addressing Global Climate Change: The Road to Copenhagen where former Vice-President Al Gore testified.  Senator Casey’s statement for the record is attached.  

“Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling today’s hearing on a very important issue facing our nation and the world today.  The threat of catastrophic global warming may seem to be a second priority after fixing our current economic crisis, but I believe that we if we do not address both simultaneously we are setting ourselves up for another crisis in the future that will have untold consequences on the world’s economy and population.  We must work aggressively to fix our immediate problems while ensuring our long-term security and prosperity.

“The solution to global warming is a puzzle with two interlocking pieces.  One is our role as part of a global solution.  The other is our domestic policy that will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions so that we meet our global commitment.  We made a good start last year with the first major debate on global warming legislation.  But while we continue to work on legislation that will make mandatory reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions, we must keep our eye on the international aspect of this debate.

“Just eleven months from now, we are scheduled to sign off on an agreement to address global warming under the U.N. Framework Convention of Climate Change.  We have a lot of work to do between now and then to re-establish ourselves as a world leader and back that commitment up with the domestic policy that will achieve the greenhouse gas reductions we need to make to fulfill our global commitment.

“As it stands today, I would characterize the U.S. as being behind the power curve when it comes to addressing global warming.  We spent much of the last eight years thinking up reasons that we couldn’t act and excuses for ignoring our role in a global crisis.  While we have made progress, we are still at the beginning of the process of piecing together a domestic program that will work for all of the different regions of this country.  Embracing the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 is easier than the actual mechanics that will achieve the reductions.  We have a lot of work to do to answer some very tough questions.  For example, I believe that we must have a plan for coal.  That is, the status quo will obviously not get us the reductions we need when a full one-third of all of our greenhouse gases come from generating electricity.  But coal is an important domestic resource that we cannot simply ignore for the sake of expediency.  Furthermore, the impact of the coal industry on Pennsylvania and other states in our region is such that we cannot simply go on faith alone.  We must have a common-sense future for coal based on science and investments in technology that will bridge the gap between today and a carbon-controlled future.

“Much of the progress we have made on global warming has been done by the states, including the most recent petition of states like California and Pennsylvania to be allowed to regulate automobile emissions.  The states are certainly working hard to keep up their end of the bargain, and now it’s time for us to do our work both internationally and with a national program to slow, stop, and reverse global warming.”

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