Press Releases

Washington, DCU.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.),Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), and Thomas Carper (D-Del.) today sent a joint letter to President Bush calling for the President to fulfill his campaign promise made six years ago to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The Senators urged the President to recognize the gravity of global warming, and move the nation toward a safer future by working to find a mandatory, comprehensive, and cost-effective strategy to reduce emissions.  

The following is the text of the Senators’ letter to President Bush:

September 8, 2006

The Honorable George W. Bush
White House
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

Six years ago, during your first presidential campaign, you promised to control greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. That promise remains unfulfilled.

Since then, emissions from the utility sector have increased by more than 50 million tons annually, total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have increased to over 7.13 billion tons annually, and the atmospheric concentration of carbon has increased to 382 parts per million (ppm) – the highest value in the last 800,000 years. These increases in emissions raise the risk of climate change for current and future generations because greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for centuries or longer – causing the Earth to warm decades after the gases are emitted. The National Academy of Sciences June 2001 report responding to your questions on the validity of this science confirmed the role of manmade emissions in contributing to global warming and climate change.

During the last six years, your Administration and the Republican leadership in Congress have unsuccessfully and irresponsibly sought to downplay the tremendously serious matter of global climate change by sabotaging scientists’ credibility and other nations’ efforts to work in good faith toward a global solution, and opposing the efforts of Democrats, a few courageous Republicans, some business leaders, and several States to cap and control emissions. Our nation has wasted a great deal of time and money and missed many economic and technological opportunities due to your unwillingness to listen carefully to the scientists and to lead the American people and the world toward a constructive, beneficial solution.

An immediate and fundamental transformation of the nation’s energy system is absolutely critical to solve this problem. Scientific experts project that the shift must start now and take place over the next 10 to 15 years, radically reducing global greenhouse gas emissions so they do not dangerously interfere with the climate system. Failure to accomplish this goal will consign current and future generations to greater and greater climate uncertainty, harming the economy and ecosystems, jeopardizing public health, and damaging national security.

We believe that the people of the United States have the ability and capacity to achieve this rapid transformation and to profit from it. There is no country in the world better suited to the type of innovation and creativity that could and must be unleashed by the right kind of leadership to address climate change. There is ample evidence – from the Department of Energy’s 1997 Five Labs Study, to the 2000 Oak Ridge Study, to the most recent Environmental Entrepreneurs Study – to indicate that the change would be good for economic growth in the United States.

The American public deserves new and vigorous political leadership to address global climate change. We strongly urge you to change course, recognize the gravity of this matter, and quickly put the resources of the Administration to work with us to find the most cost-effective combination of mandatory carbon controls, equitable and binding global commitments, and other essential elements of a comprehensive and transformational strategy.

We stand ready to work with you on legislation that puts America back in the lead on energy efficiency, and the commercialization of renewable and low-carbon energy technologies. Working together to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions, we can move the nation and the world toward a safer and more predictable future. The alternative is a continued breach of our moral responsibility to leave the world a better place than we found it.

Thank you for your attention to our request. We look forward to your response.