Click HERE to watch a video of the press conference. Unfortunately, due to technical problems, the video starts two minutes into the press conference.
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
On Tuesday, President-elect Barack Obama made an extraordinary statement to the Governors' Global Climate Summit taking place in Los Angeles.
Here is what he said:
"Few challenges facing America - and the world - are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We've seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season."
"My presidency will mark a new chapter in America's leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process."
"Climate change and our dependence on foreign oil, if left unaddressed, will continue to weaken our economy and threaten our national security."
President-elect Obama's clear, unequivocal commitment to stepping up to the challenge of global warming was music to my ears.
I believe strongly that when we address the threat of unchecked global warming by investing in clean energy technologies and reducing our dependence on foreign oil, we also have a recipe for economic recovery. The time to start is now, and my colleagues and I are here to step up to President-elect Obama's call to action to address global warming and create millions of green jobs in America.
In our Environment and Public Works Committee:
Instead of denial, we will have resolve.
Instead of procrastination, we will have action.
Instead of listening to the voices of the stagnant status quo, our committee hears our President-elect and hears voices like Thomas Friedman, who wrote in his most recent book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded," that how we respond to the global warming challenge will be "the defining measure of a country's economic standing, environmental health, energy security, and national security over the next 50 years."
Today I am announcing the first steps that I will be taking in connection with President-elect Obama's historic challenge to address global warming.
First, I will be introducing two pieces of legislation in January.
The first bill will establish a grant program to reduce global warming emissions under the Clean Air Act with up to $15 billion a year available to spur innovations in clean energy, including advanced biofuels. This will be an economic stimulus and follows President-elect Obama's recommendation.
Clean energy means green jobs. A new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors estimates that by 2038, another 4.2 million green jobs could be added to the economy - thanks to the alternative energy and renewable energy industries, and the benefits of energy efficiency. That could account for 10 percent of job growth over the next 30 years.
The second piece of legislation will direct the Environmental Protection Agency to set up a cap and trade system for greenhouse gases that meets the goals laid out by the President elect. This bill will reflect the strong partnership we will have with the new Administration, and will focus on achieving the emissions reductions needed while restoring the economy. It will be a streamlined bill, which will amend the Clean Air Act.
Next, I am announcing our first hearing in the 111th Congress. The hearing will take place as soon as possible after we convene in January, and will be entitled "How Fighting Global Warming is Good for the Economy and Will Create Jobs."
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will be represented next month at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland. I am sending my top Committee staff, who will act as my representatives in meetings with international leaders as they prepare for a new global agreement to address greenhouse gas emissions, which will be completed in 2009 in Denmark. In addition, Senator Klobuchar will be attending and plans to report back to President-elect Obama and to our Committee. Other Senators from the Committee may join her.
President-elect Obama told the world on Tuesday that our country will be an ally in the fight against global warming. I am here to say that our Committee stands ready to be a tireless ally in that effort.
President-elect Barack Obama issued a call to action this week:
"Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all. Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious."
We are here to say that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will reach out to both sides of the aisle as we answer President-elect Obama's call.