Today's announcement by the Obama administration to reduce our nation's global warming pollution from power plants is the most important step taken to combat the climate crisis in our country’s history.
We simply cannot continue to use the atmosphere as an open sewer for dirty and dangerous global warming pollution that endangers our health and makes storms, floods, mudslides and droughts much more dangerous and threatening – not only in the future, but here and now. As with the connection between tobacco and lung cancer, special interests have vehemently denied the linkage between carbon emissions and the climate crisis. But the reality of global warming is now much more apparent and many more people are beginning to demand action. These same special interests now recognize that change is inevitable, but continue to trot out misleading and false claims to spread confusion and delay action for as long as they can. However, it is now clear that further inaction would be extremely dangerous and destructive for America and the rest of the world.
Fortunately, because of the innovation and hard work of America’s businesses, scientists and engineers, we now have clean energy solutions that are way more efficient, economically competitive and more widely available than ever before. Solar and wind power are already cheaper than the old dirty sources of energy in many areas, and are getting cheaper every year – the same way cellphones and computers did.
Following years of stronger and more frequent storms, unprecedented flooding and killer mudslides, widespread drought and spreading wildfires – not to mention record-breaking heat waves, the need for bold action is obvious and urgent. President Obama has taken hold of the challenges we face through a series of critical actions, empowering the EPA to enforce limits on CO2 emissions for new power plants, accelerating the adoption of renewable energy and enforcing bold new standards for fuel economy, while continuing to raise awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis and reestablish American leadership on the global stage.
Solving the climate crisis will no doubt be difficult, but - thanks to this action by President Obama and many others - we are now in a position to put ourselves on the path to a sustainable future.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great Tennessean and valued friend, Senator Howard Baker. Throughout his years of service to our state and nation, Senator Baker distinguished himself as a leader of rare caliber. Highly respected by both sides of the aisle, he was a voice of reason, especially in some of our country's darkest hours.
I had the honor of serving with Senator Baker when I was in the U. S. House of Representatives and then, when he chose not to run for re-election, succeeding him in the U. S. Senate. I was also proud to serve on the board of the Baker Center at the University of Tennessee. The Center continues to reflect its namesake, as an institution of the highest political, ethical and moral values.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Senator Baker. All Americans will remember him as a great man and a great champion of our democracy.