For Immediate Release Contact: Peter Rafle
March 1, 2007 (202) 228-3102 direct, (202) 302-7086 cell
U.S. Senate Committee on
Environment and Public Works
Opening Statement of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman
Hearing on “State, Regional and Local Perspectives on Global Warming”
March 1, 2007
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
This hearing will come to order.
Today’s hearing is about State, Regional and Local approaches to global warming.
I want to welcome all of our witnesses, including Governor Corzine, a former member of this Committee, and two members of the California Legislature:
President pro Tem of the California State Senate, Mr. Don Perata and
Speaker of the California Assembly, Mr. Fabian Nunez.
I also want welcome Mayor Nickels, from Seattle and the Mayor of Des Moines, Iowa, Frank Cownie. In addition, I would like to welcome State Representative Dennis Adkins of Oklahoma, State Senator Ted Harvey of Colorado, and Mayor Richard Homrighausen of Dover, Ohio.
Every day we learn more about how global warming is threatening the well being of our planet.
Just a few weeks ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its report, which makes clear that global warming is happening now and that there is a 90% certainty that humans are causing most of the warming.
This warming can have enormous consequences for mankind. Left unchecked, global warming will lead to increased extreme weather events, to sea level rise, to more floods and hurricanes, and to changes in our weather patterns that could reduce our water supplies. These are but a few of the effects that global warming will have on our states and cities in the years to come.
Today’s hearing is about those states, regions and cities that already recognize these facts and have taken strong, bipartisan action to help stop global warming.
They are leading the way for the rest of the nation. They understand what is at stake for our future and they are sending us a signal that we should heed.
[Chart] As this map shows, 29 states already have some form of a climate action plan. These 29 states have a combined population of nearly 180 million people. 14 of the 29 states (shown in yellow) have set greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Eight northeastern states, including New Jersey, have agreed to reduce emissions from powerplants, through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. More states, such as Maryland, are expected to join this effort.
On Monday, California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and New Mexico announced a regional initiative to address global warming. It is only a matter of time before more states follow.
I am especially proud of my state, California, which enacted AB 32, the nation’s first economy-wide global warming bill, authored by State Assembly Speaker Nunez, who is here today.
Under the leadership of State Senate President pro Tem Perata, California has also set strong emission standards for new electricity generation.
And, California has set greenhouse gas standards for vehicles, which 10 other states have adopted.
Governor Corzine’s recent Executive Order requires New Jersey to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and by 80% from current levels by 2050. I commend his leadership.
Our cities have also taken action.
Led by Seattle Mayor Nickels, a bipartisan group of 407 mayors, representing over 59 million people, have signed on to the Climate Protection Agreement.
And finally, Mayor Cownie will tell us about the actions that he is taking in Des Moines, Iowa, to help his city, and his citizens, take action to fight global warming. They are fueling their fleets with ethanol and biodiesel, they are building more bike paths in Des Moines, and they are encouraging their citizens to use compact flourescent light bulbs.
These may seem like small things, but in the end they will add up.
People everywhere are waking up to the reality of global warming. Earlier this week, the investment community announced plans to take over a major Texas utility and to scrap its plans to build 11 new coal fired power plants.
That decision took heed of the editorial that Senator Bingaman and I wrote, which made clear that permits for such plants to emit greenhouse gases would not be granted for free. The days when investors could ignore the possibility of greenhouse gas limits are coming to a close.
There is increasing bipartisan consensus that we need to move now to limit emissions. The States and cities that we will hear from today are leading that charge. I am an optimist, and like the states and cities who are taking action today, I believe we can solve this problem, and that in doing so we will be better for it in every way.
I look forward to hearing all of the witnesses’ testimony on this issue today.