This is a pivotal week in our fight against the climate crisis. The Energy and Commerce Committee will be voting on the Waxman-Markey bill, which is one of the most important pieces of legislation ever to be introduced in Congress. As I stated during my testimony several weeks ago, this legislation has the moral significance equivalent to that of the civil rights legislation of the 1960’s and the Marshall Plan of the late 1940’s.
This bill sets us on course to Repower America, helping transition us to a clean energy economy and ending our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuel.
Passing this bill out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is the first step in what is likely to be a long legislative fight. However it is one, with your support, I know we can win.
Earlier today President Obama announced new Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards of 35 miles per gallon by 2016. That will reduce our use of oil by more than 1.8 billion barrels, which is equal to taking 58 million cars off the road for an entire year.
Just a year ago, automakers would be protesting these changes; however President Obama was joined by 10 auto companies and the UAW at the White House for the announcement today. This sea change is a clear demonstration of the progress we have made in the fight against the climate crisis.
Paul Krugman wrote an excellent column in Sunday's New York Times. In it he writes:
"If we're going to get real action on climate change any time soon, it will be via some version of legislation proposed by Representatives Henry Waxman and Edward Markey. Their bill would limit greenhouse gases by requiring polluters to receive or buy emission permits, with the number of available permits -- the "cap" in "cap and trade" -- gradually falling over time."
It would be hard to imagine, even a year ago a bill like Markey-Waxman becoming law. Now that reality is within our grasp.
According to the Associated Press, a group of retired admirals and generals have issued a report stating "reducing America's reliance on oil and addressing climate change is critical for future national security":
"The group's report Monday says over-reliance on oil — not just foreign oil — undermines U.S. foreign policy and leaves the country vulnerable to unstable and hostile regimes. It says future oil markets will be marked by limited supplies and increasing demand, posing a national security risk."
You can read the full report by clicking here.
This is more evidence of the need to pass Markey-Waxman and begin the process of Repowering America.