For Immediate Release
February 13, 2007
Contact: Peter Rafle, Senate EPW
(202) 228-3102 dir./(202) 302-7086 cell
Opening Statement of
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairman
Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works
Hearing on the United States Climate Action Partnership Report
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
February 13, 2007
Today we will hear from a group of leading corporations and environmental groups who have agreed on a roadmap for next steps to address the global warming challenge.
They have banded together to issue “A Call for Action” on global warming. They have concluded that “we know enough to act” on global warming and that “Congress needs to enact legislation as quickly as possible.”
I want to thank these companies for their report and let them know that I believe it makes an important contribution to helping solve the global warming problem.
This group includes some of the world’s largest corporations, such as General Electric, Dupont, BP, Caterpillar, Alcoa, and includes key energy companies such as Duke Power, Florida Power and Light and PG&E, from my home state of California.
These companies produce products of all types, use fuels of all types, including coal, and are committed to being profitable for many years to come. As the Chairman of Duke Power noted on release of the report, Duke Power is the third largest user of coal in the United States. Yet all these companies agree that we need to act now to enact a mandatory program to address global warming.
What is more, they agree on the targets for reduction, both in the short term and the long term. They agree that we need to stabilize world wide atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at 450-550 parts per million. Their targets for emissions include reductions of 10-30% from today’s levels within the next 15 years and a 60% to 80% reduction from today’s levels by 2050.
These targets are consistent with what the scientists are telling us and they are consistent with the targets set forth in the Sanders bill, of which I am co-sponsor, as well as other bills introduced in this Congress.
The companies and groups before us today also make clear that by acting now, we can help, not hurt our economy. They say that:
“Each year we delay action to control emissions increases the risk of unavoidable consequences that could necessitate even steeper reductions in the future, at potentially greater economic cost and social disruption.”
The U.S. CAP report also makes the point that we need to enact an economy wide program.
I am very proud of my home state of California, which enacted AB 32, an economy-wide global warming bill. The California law sets a mandatory cap on carbon pollution, including a 25% reduction from projected levels by 2020 and the California Governor’s Executive Order includes a target to reduce emissions 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.
California is leading the way in combating global warming. And one of the companies here, Pacific Gas and Electric, has helped enormously by working hard to help increase California’s energy efficiency, which is one of the highest in the nation.
I continue to believe we should approach this problem with hope and not fear. I am an optimist, and I believe we can solve this problem, and that in doing so, we will be better for it in every way.
The members of the Climate Action Partnership who are here today agree with this approach. They say that “In our view, the climate change challenge, like other challenges our country has confronted in the past, will create more economic opportunities than risks for the U.S. economy” and that “addressing climate change will require innovation and products that drive increased energy efficiency, creating new markets...increased U.S. competitiveness, as well as reduced reliance on energy from foreign sources.”
As business leaders that successfully compete in national and world-wide markets, they should know.
We must face the challenge of global warming now. It is one of the great challenges of this generation. With the help groups and businesses like those in the Climate Action Partnership, this is a challenge we can and will meet.
I look forward to hearing the witnesses’ testimony.