Friday, August 02, 2013

Former EPA Administrators Support Obama's Climate Plan

Aug 2:  Former Administrators of U.S. EPA -- William D. Ruckelshaus, from its founding in 1970 to 1973, and again from 1983 to 1985; Lee M. Thomas, from 1985 to 1989; William K. Reilly, from 1989 to 1993; and Christine Todd Whitman, from 2001 to 2003 -- authored an op-ed in the New York Times entitled, "A Republican Case for Climate Action." The Administrators come out in support of President Obama's Climate Action Plan [See WIMS 6/25/13 & See WIMS 6/26/13].
    The former Administrators said, "We served Republican presidents, but we have a message that transcends political affiliation: the United States must move now on substantive steps to curb climate change, at home and internationally. There is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts: our world continues to warm, with the last decade the hottest in modern records, and the deep ocean warming faster than the earth's atmosphere. Sea level is rising. Arctic Sea ice is melting years faster than projected.

    "The costs of inaction are undeniable. The lines of scientific evidence grow only stronger and more numerous. And the window of time remaining to act is growing smaller: delay could mean that warming becomes 'locked in.' A market-based approach, like a carbon tax, would be the best path to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but that is unachievable in the current political gridlock in Washington. Dealing with this political reality, President Obama's June climate action plan lays out achievable actions that would deliver real progress. . .

    "Rather than argue against his proposals, our leaders in Congress should endorse them and start the overdue debate about what bigger steps are needed and how to achieve them — domestically and internationally. . . Mr. Obama's plan is just a start. More will be required. But we must continue efforts to reduce the climate-altering pollutants that threaten our planet. The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon. What is most clear is that there is no time to waste."

    Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) posted a response saying in part, "Like mayors, military leaders, business executives, and health professionals from across the country, these EPA administrators recognize that the damage done by climate change does not observe party lines. It threatens all Americans with extreme weather and economic burden. From heat waves to drought, damaged property to lost business, we all pay a price no matter where we live or how we vote: The government spent nearly $100 billion to respond to extreme weather events last year. That's more than $1,100 per average US taxpayer. . .

    "Many states have already started moving down this path. Nine Northeastern states -- including some under the guidance of Republican governors -- have established a regional carbon limit that has cut power-plant carbon by 30 percent and resulted in measures that will save consumers $1.3 billion on energy bills. Nearly 30 states -- including both red and blue -- have created renewable energy standards that helped wind power account for nearly half of all new installed energy capacity and created more than 200,000 jobs in the wind and solar industries.  

    "It is time for America to build on this progress and tackle climate change as a nation. Without this common cause, our children and grandchildren would be left to cope with the devastating consequences of unchecked climate change. We can't pass this burden on to them, especially when we can already see what climate disruption can do to people's lives. We must rise above political differences to face this challenge together. And we must act now. . ."

    Access the NYT Op-Ed (click here). Access the response from NRDC (click here). [#Climate]