Last year, I promised you that if the voters placed Democrats in charge of the Senate we would see a new agenda in Washington. Instead of sweeping issues like Iraq and global warming under the rug, we would shine the spotlight on them and demand a new direction for our country.
My friends, our day has come. Today, in one of my first acts as chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, I am holding a hearing on the most important environmental problem of our generation -- global warming. This is the difference an election makes -- the difference between a Congress in denial about climate change and one willing to confront it head on.
Many of my colleagues will be testifying before my committee today, offering their opinions about the best way Congress can act to tackle global warming. But I want to hear from you, too.
I don't need to tell you that global warming is the single biggest environmental problem we face. Scientific research already shows conclusively that human activity is warming the climate. The consequences will be disastrous if we don't act soon. Already, the Arctic ice sheet is melting, a fact that will ultimately raise sea levels and threaten coastal communities. We will experience more severe storms like Hurricane Katrina, with devastating consequences. Entire ecosystems are at risk. We have to act now.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of good ideas about how to address climate change. My good friend and colleague from California, Senator Feinstein, has proposed a plan to cap and trade carbon emissions from power plants. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and I have teamed up on legislation based on California's model. For the past two years, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) have offered an economy-wide cap and trade system. And Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has proposed increasing the nation's ethanol requirement.
This is just a sample of the many suggestions to meet the challenge of global warming and many others are about to be put on the table. I'd like to hear your ideas on the best way to move forward. What ideas do you think we should pursue? Let me know so that I can share your comments with my colleagues in the Senate.
Today, the battle in the Senate to reduce global warming begins, and I want you to be a part of it. But there's still a lot of work to do. There will be a series of hearings, week after week, where my committee will hear from every part of America on this issue. But this is the time I want to hear from you before we sit down and write the legislation we believe will become law this year.
After listening to colleagues and scientists in today's committee hearing, and gathering your feedback online, I've scheduled another hearing for next Tuesday -- to start putting these ideas into action. I want to share your ideas with the committee next week, so please vote on your priorities today.
You've heard me say this before but I want to repeat it again: Elections have consequences. Because of you, one major consequence is that global warming is now on the national agenda.
I sincerely ask that you continue to be a part of the solution -- until we get the job done!
P.S. After you've ranked your preferred global warming solutions, please invite your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to do the same. I hope to hear from tens of thousands of Americans before our next committee hearing next Tuesday. Thank you for helping us make a difference!
Paid for by PAC for a Change, www.barbaraboxer.com, Treasurer Sim Farar, FEC#C00342048.
Invite your friends and family to rank their preferred global warming solutions today!