WASHINGTON – As the Obama Administration prepares to release its greenhouse gas reduction commitment for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris, the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change is today leading more than 100 Members of Congress on a letter supporting President Obama’s international climate efforts. Bicameral Task Force co-chairs Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill,), Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) organized the letter, which is signed by 34 Democratic Senators and 83 Democratic House Members, including Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“One of the three pillars of the Climate Action Plan is to lead international efforts to address global climate change. As a nation that has contributed more than a quarter of all global carbon pollution, it is our responsibility to lead,” the Senators and Representatives write. “As a nation already feeling the effects and costs of climate change, it is also in our national interest to do so.”
They continue, “As the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) prepare to meet at the end of the year, they have agreed that each nation will pledge to reduce its carbon pollution in an amount and manner to be determined by each nation and that puts the world on a strong trajectory to address climate change. Proactive engagement in these negotiations, backed up by domestic climate action, is the best way to protect our nation’s interests and ensure every country does its fair share.”
The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, founded in January 2013, focuses on drawing congressional and public attention to climate change and developing effective policy responses to this urgent challenge.
The full text of the letter is below. The PDF is available here.
March 31, 2015
Dear President Obama:
Thank you for your leadership in responding to the serious challenge of climate change. We applaud and support your Climate Action Plan, the joint announcement with China establishing ambitious carbon pollution reduction targets, and the national commitment to the Green Climate Fund. These actions are critical to protect Americans from the most dangerous effects of climate change.
Americans are already shouldering the costs of climate change, and these costs are getting worse. Climate change is driving more severe drought and wildfires in the West, larger and more frequent floods in the Midwest, and sea level rise and greater storm damage along our coasts. Vulnerable populations, like children with asthma and the elderly, are suffering from higher levels of smog in our cities and longer, more severe heat waves. Farmers and ranchers are struggling with crop and livestock losses from drought. Increasingly acidic oceans are harming shellfish populations and threatening fisheries. Communities are struggling to pay for infrastructure damaged by fires, more extreme storms, and coastal erosion.
One of the three pillars of the Climate Action Plan is to lead international efforts to address global climate change. As a nation that has contributed more than a quarter of all global carbon pollution, it is our responsibility to lead. As a nation already feeling the effects and costs of climate change, it is also in our national interest to do so. In order to solve the problem of climate change, it is essential that the United States has allies in cutting carbon pollution. As we have seen time and time again, other countries will join us, if America leads the way.
As the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) prepare to meet at the end of the year, they have agreed that each nation will pledge to reduce its carbon pollution in an amount and manner to be determined by each nation and that puts the world on a strong trajectory to address climate change. Proactive engagement in these negotiations, backed up by domestic climate action, is the best way to protect our nation’s interests and ensure every country does its fair share.
The strong target announced by the United States, along with reciprocal commitments from China and the European Union, sets the stage for a meaningful climate agreement this year. Because the U.S. and China are the largest two emitters of carbon pollution and together with the E.U. are collectively responsible for more than half of the world’s energy sector emissions, the recent commitments by our countries represent significant progress. This progress is strengthened by the recent U.S.-India commitment to work together to achieve a successful and ambitious global climate agreement this year. The United States’ pledge of $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund continues to demonstrate our history of partnering with the least developed countries to help them grow their economies in ways that take into account the impacts of climate change.
We stand ready to help you seize this opportunity to strengthen the global response to climate change. Your Administration has made significant progress in reducing U.S. emissions, including through improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency standards and other areas that are saving consumers and businesses money, reducing air pollution, creating jobs, and putting America back in control of our energy security. We applaud the Administration’s continued use of its existing authority to cut carbon pollution, in particular EPA’s standards to limit carbon pollution from power plants under the Clean Air Act, and your efforts under the UNFCCC.
Thank you again for your leadership in fighting devastating climate change to protect American families today and for generations to come.