Bluewater Network
AUGUST 5, 2004
6:19 PM
CONTACT:  Bluewater Network
Elisa Lynch, 415-544-0790, x15
Environmentalists Hail Global Warming Lawsuit

WASHINGTON - August 5 - Bluewater Network applauds legal action by California Attorney General Lockyer to address the threats of global warming. Lockyer and officials from seven other states and the City of New York filed a federal nuisance suit against five electric utilities responsible for the largest emissions of carbon dioxide in the country.

"Despite nearly total denial from the Bush Administration, the science demonstrates a clear and present threat from global warming," said Elisa Lynch, Global Warming Campaign Director for Bluewater Network. "Inaction at the federal level makes it imperative that state and local governments act assertively. This lawsuit is a great example of forward-looking action to address the greatest environmental threat of our time."

If current trends continue, higher temperatures will lead to sea level rise, wildfires, worsening air quality, and environmentally and economically harmful changes in fresh water availability. Already, global warming is reducing the habitat available for cold water fish, glaciers are melting, forests are shifting their range northward or dying, endangered species are losing habitat, and beaches and islands are being eroded and submerged by the rising seas.

"All across the planet, environmental protection has become a priority. Though this has been really encouraging, global warming could threaten all the progress we've made," said Lynch. "Even our survival is at stake. Global warming could dramatically and rapidly change the very ecosystems we depend on." Fortunately, the science indicates that it's not too late; the worst impacts of global warming can still be averted by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Bush administration's lack of progress on this problem leaves it up to the states and local governments. The new suit is the first state legal action taken directly against companies that discharge carbon dioxide, an unavoidable byproduct of burning fossil fuels like coal and oil. According to the latest inventory by U.S. EPA, the electric power industry is the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

"California has already proven itself a leader with limits on auto-related greenhouse gas emissions. With this lawsuit, California and its co-plaintiffs are taking critical steps to address climate-forcing emissions from the nation's largest source," said Lynch.

Bluewater Network is a national environmental organization dedicated to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and eradicating other root causes of air and water pollution, global warming, and habitat destruction.