My thanks to all of you for coming to Lima to work on a climate agreement. Time is not on our side. We need to do this.
In the United States, we are continuing to witness the devastating impacts of climate change -- from the hottest summer on record, to historic droughts and extreme wildfires in California, to vanishing wildlife in Alaska, to toxic algae blooming out of control and contaminating drinking water in America's heartland.
The scientific evidence continues to mount. New research by the University of California-Irvine and NASA showed that the rate of ice loss from West Antarctica has tripled in the past decade. Warmer ocean waters are eating away at Antarctic glaciers, and scientists tell us that if this trend continues, it could lead to sea levels rising by 11 feet around the world.
The impacts of climate change are truly devastating. Since 1992, there have been more than 6,600 major disasters related to climate, weather and water worldwide, and these disasters have caused more than $1.6 trillion in damages and killed more than 600,000 people. That's from the Associated Press.
Our planet has become warmer and more polluted, and there is no question that now is the time to act.
Policymakers around the globe cannot just try to adapt to climate change. Instead, every country must act now to reduce dangerous carbon pollution or it will it lead to irreversible impacts for human health, food and water supplies, and a world of hurt.
I am pleased to report that the United States is doing its part to meet our commitments to reduce carbon pollution by 2020. Just last month, President Obama announced that the U.S. and China have jointly made a historic commitment to take action. And in 2015, the Obama Administration will complete carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants, and will act to further control methane emissions and take the next steps to control carbon pollution from cars and trucks. All of this under the Clean Air Act that I am committed to protecting.
I am proud that California is leading the shift to clean energy by requiring that 33% of our electricity come from renewable energy. And in the first seven months of 2014, solar and wind energy have accounted for more than half of all new electricity generation that has come on line in the U.S.
In America, poll after poll shows that people want us to address the threat posed by climate change. A few months ago, 400,000 people participated in a climate march in New York City to demonstrate their support for action. There is a great group of colleagues in the House and Senate pushing hard.
I strongly support the work that is being done in Lima to lead us to a strong international climate change agreement in 2015. Thank you so much for all you are doing.