Chicago, IL – Today, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) delivered to President Obama a letter signed by 302 state legislators from 40 states, including 11 from Illinois, urging him to prioritize tackling global warming in his second term. Environment Illinois and environmental advocates across the country applauded the move.
"This is what local leadership in tackling global warming looks like," said Seth Berkman, Field Associate with Environment Illinois. "From Superstorm Sandy to the ongoing and devastating drought here in the Midwest, far too many Illinoisans have been harmed by the early effects of global warming. We have the solutions to address this problem, and today these legislators are speaking out and urging the President to follow through on his pledge to put those solutions to work."
"As President Obama declared in his inaugural address, the failure to respond to the threat of global warming would 'betray our children and future generations,'" said Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie. "That is why America must forge a new future and that future must start now with concrete actions to curb carbon pollution."
The legislators cite recent extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy, western wildfires and increased frequency of drought among reasons for President Obama to prioritize addressing global warming. They argue that no U.S. community is immune from the effects of global warming, especially when you consider that, in addition to Superstorm Sandy, which left as much as $50 billion dollars of damage in its wake, there were 10 other extreme weather-related disasters in 2012 that have surpassed the $1 billion in damages.
"In 2008, President Obama said that we would view this as the time when the planet began to heal. Entering his second term, he has said addressing global warming is our obligation to future generations. With the President’s leadership, and all of us working together, we can take the action that is so urgently needed to safeguard our people, our public health and our children’s future," said State Representative Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook.
"Despite what some deniers would have you believe, global warming is not a matter of speculation. It’s already here and is devastating homes and entire communities," said State Representative Sarah Feigenholtz of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. "Failing to address global warming is a failure to protect our communities from the next drought, the next Hurricane Sandy."
The legislators joined a growing chorus of small businesses, religious leaders, environmentalists and public health advocates urging President Obama to make tackling global warming a priority. The group called on the President to finalize proposed standards limiting carbon pollution from new power plants and to propose additional standards to address our nation’s aging power plants.
“We applaud the Obama administration for having finalized fuel efficiency standards and proposing limits to the amount of carbon that new power plants can emit in his first term,” said NCEL Board Chairman and Maryland Delegate Jim Hubbard. “Legislators from across the country are urging the President to continue his focus on climate change and use his office to spur the nation to act.”
Click here to read the letter from 302 State Legilsators Urging President Obama to Act on Global Warming
NCEL is a non-profit, non-partisan organization formed by state legislators for state legislators to network and promote environmental protection.
Environment Illinois is a state-wide, citizen-based environmental grassroots and advocacy organization working to protect clean air, clean water, and open spaces.