For Immediate Release
Aaron Huertas, 202-331-5458
Congress Should Heed Al Gore's Advice, Science Group Says
Statement by Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists
Below is a statement by Alden Meyer, director of policy and strategy at the Union of Concerned Scientists:
"Once again, Vice President Gore is speaking the inconvenient truth: It's long past time for the United States to join the rest of the world in the fight against global warming, and it's essential for Congress to pass comprehensive climate legislation this year. The United States has joined other countries in calling for adoption of a new climate change treaty at the Copenhagen climate summit this December. Having a congressionally approved plan in hand would strengthen President Obama's ability to negotiate a strong agreement in Copenhagen.
"Federal climate legislation should provide substantial assistance to developing countries for expanding deployment of clean energy technologies and preventing tropical deforestation, and to help them adapt to the mounting effects of global warming. Such assistance must be a central element of any international climate deal, and recognition of this in domestic climate legislation will make developing countries more willing to work with the United States.
"Slowing tropical deforestation, which produces about 20 percent of global warming pollution, must be a major component of the new climate treaty. As noted by Senator Menendez at today's hearing, UCS analysis shows that $5 billion in annual funding would reduce deforestation by 20 percent -- the equivalent of taking 100 million cars off the road. In addition to providing funding, the United States should support such efforts as Brazil's national plan to cut deforestation by 70 percent in a decade, which Vice President Gore described today as 'truly impressive.'
"Our country is at a crossroads. We can stay the course and continue to be whiplashed by volatile fuel prices, dependence on unfriendly oil-rich regimes, and the worsening consequences of global warming. Or we can use energy much more efficiently and shift to domestic, clean energy sources. Such a clean energy transformation would address the nation's most pressing problems, including the current economic crisis, in one fell swoop. Bringing more renewable electricity on line and cutting our oil usage would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, shield consumers from price spikes, and dramatically reduce global warming pollution.
"We have the technology and the know-how to address global warming. And now, after eight long years of delay and denial, we have the leadership we need in the White House to get the job done. We join Vice President Gore in calling upon Congress to enact strong domestic climate legislation this year."
The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.