WEBCAST REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON CLIMATE CHANGE
THE PRESIDENT: Next week, representatives from around the world will
gather to help shape an international response to one of the greatest
challenges we face -- the threat of global warming.
Today, I want to talk with you about what this challenge means for the
United States and how we can meet it together. The scientific consensus is
clear: the earth is warming and there is strong evidence that human
activity is part of the reason why.
Today, I received a report from some of our leading scientists that
provides the most detailed assessment ever of the potential impacts of
global warming across the United States. This landmark report, undertaken
at the request of Congress, pulls together a great deal of scientific
analysis and paints a sobering picture of the future.
Scientists project that continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions
could raise temperatures across our country by five to nine degrees over
the next 100 years. To put that in perspective, the earth has not seen a
temperature change of that magnitude since the end of the last ice age,
about 15,000 years ago. This new study makes clear that this projected
warming threatens serious harm to our environment and to our economy. It
could mean more flooding, more droughts, more extreme weather and a serious
disruption of water supplies.
It could mean rising sea levels, the loss of species and the
destruction of entire ecosystems such as the alpine meadows of the Rocky
Mountains. What's more, the scientists warn, there may be many other
impacts that we simply cannot predict.
Fortunately, there are steps we can take now to help avert these
threats to our future. That's why for the past eight years Vice President
Gore and I have pursued common sense strategies to reduce greenhouse gas
pollution. We've expanded research and development of solar, wind,
biofuels and other renewable energy resources.
We've taken dramatic steps to reduce energy use by the federal
government, the world's largest energy consumer. We've adopted stronger
energy efficient standards for appliances and forged new alliances with
industry, including the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles.
These are all steps that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while saving
consumers money and strengthening our economy.
But we must do more. That is why today I'm calling for a dramatic new
approach to reducing air pollution from America's power plants, a
comprehensive new clean air strategy that will produce significant
reductions in the emissions that contribute to global warming.
By adopting one integrated strategy that addresses all the major
pollutants -- including mercury and carbon dioxide, the largest contributor
to global warming -- we can give electric utilities the flexibility they
need to meet our clean air goals in a cost-effective way. A key part of
this strategy is the use of emissions trading, which has proven so
effective in curbing the pollution that causes acid rain. There is strong
bipartisan support for this approach, and I urge the next Congress to take
it up as soon as possible.
As we accelerate our efforts here at home, we are committed to working
with other nations to take strong and sensible action to curb global
warming. As the world comes together next week in the Hague, the United
States will work to make real progress toward a treaty that is both
environmentally strong and cost-effective. We must continue to move
forward together. The stakes of not acting are simply too high.
Thanks for logging on.