October 28, 2009

CARDIN SAYS WE MUST ACT NOW TO CREATE JOBS AND PROTECT COMMUNITIES FROM REAL THREATS TO OUR NATIONAL, ECONOMIC AND ENERGY SECURITY

The threats climate change brings to our way of life are not theoretical.

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of both the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement today during the legislative hearing on S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009.
 
"At this critical juncture in our nation's history, we face an economic crisis, an energy security crisis, and a global climate crisis. The good news is that the solutions to these problems are intertwined with one another. T he Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009 will help us meet these challenges and emerge stronger than we are today. 
 
"The threats climate change brings to our way of life are not theoretical - they have already been felt in Maryland, around the nation, and throughout the world. The people of Smith Island are watching their island disappear under rising sea levels. The crabs, fish and other aquatic life Maryland's watermen rely on are disappearing along with their way of life. And it's only going to get worse. Maryland's sea levels are projected to rise 3.5 feet. That means thousands of Marylanders are going to lose their homes and farms. The Midshipmen of our U.S. Naval Academy may be taking their classes under water. We may lose or overwhelm the water infrastructure and drinking water sources we depend on to deliver clean water to our homes. 
 
"Marylanders' struggles are mirrored in communities around the world. Droughts, floods and other natural disasters that are already destroying their local economies and forcing people to change their way of life and even leave their homes. Our addiction to fossil fuels from other countries puts us at their mercy. These countries have the ability to upset our economy and our national security by disrupting the flow of fuel.   
 
"The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009  is good for business and good for our economy because it brings much-needed predictability to our energy markets, particularly renewable sources like nuclear and solar that have a friendlier carbon footprint. Predictability breeds investment and investment creates and keeps jobs right here in America."
 
The consequences of inaction can be costly. The Center for Integrative Research at the University of Maryland cites the following examples:
 
·          2003's Hurricane Isabelbrought 4-12 inches of rain and storm surges of 6 to 8 feet to the Annapolis area and cost $462 million. Such extreme weather events will likely be more intense under a scenario of undeterred greenhouse gas emissions.
 
·          Commercial fishing and crabbing in Maryland generates more than $207 million (2007) annually and manufacturingcontributes $1.76 billion (2007) in wages - both of which are dependent on reliable access to ports from land and sea. Steadily rising sea levels as well as abrupt non-linear sea level increases could create economic hardships for Maryland's shipping, fishing, and manufacturing industries. A one percent decrease in shipping activity at the Port of Baltimore between now and 2018 would result in an indirect economic impact of roughly $361 million on Maryland's GDP and a loss of more than 3,600 jobs.
 
·          A 2 percent decrease in out-of-state wildlife watchers between now and 2018 would result in indirect losses to Maryland's GDP of $10 million and a loss of almost 100 jobs.
 
·          Another detrimental effect of climate change on agriculture will be the northern expansion of invasive species due to higher temperatures, including warm-season weeds, nematodes, and insects. Maryland farmers spent $39 million (2007) on pesticides in 2002and that price will likely increase, but the cost of using more pesticide includes environmental degradation, as well. Runoff from pesticides contributes to degrading freshwater and coastal ecosystems.