May 2014

Statement on the 2014 National Climate Assessment Report May 6, 2014 : 10:24 AM

The latest National Climate Assessment provides clear evidence of what many Americans are already experiencing in their daily lives: the growing impact of extreme weather events linked to global warming.

When Pensacola, Florida, gets two feet of rain in 26 hours, that is exactly the kind of extreme and destructive event that scientists have long warned will become way more common.

From stronger and more frequent storms that take lives and damage infrastructure, to deeper droughts and heat waves that hurt agriculture and threaten water supplies, to rising seas that threaten our coastal cities -- the way Miami Beach is ALREADY threatened -- the costs of carbon are growing rapidly.

The good news is that we now have the technologies and alternatives we need to really solve the climate crisis -- but we must start acting now.

More and more businesses and governments around the world understand this and have started working to stop recklessly dumping global warming pollution into the atmosphere, as if it is an open sewer. And under the leadership of President Obama, the United States has also now finally begun to make important changes to our energy infrastructure and start reducing emissions of pollution—but we can and must do more. It’s time for Congress to step up and enact legislation to make it easier to shift to a more efficient and competitive -- and job rich -- renewable, low carbon economy.

We have no time to waste. We must end our addiction to dirty fossil fuels and transition to clean, renewable energy in order to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future.


Statement on the passing of Maya Angelou May 28, 2014 : 11:41 AM

Today marks the passing of Maya Angelou, whose passionate and timeless voice for empathy, passion and humanity touched millions. Throughout her life, Dr. Angelou eloquently presented a powerful and unique expression of what we can become and what we must leave behind.

I had the pleasure and honor of calling Dr. Angelou a longtime friend. While our paths crossed many times, our trip to Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994 was especially important to me. The event marked a transition for South Africa that had been proven possible in the United States just decades before, in part due to Dr. Angelou’s powerful words. As Madiba spoke, he recited Dr. Angelou’s poem, "Still I Rise."

One verse in particular stays with me to this day:

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

These indelible words define a woman of extraordinary power and courage. She will be sorely missed and never forgotten.