Des Moines, Iowa – Today, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) delivered to President Obama a letter signed by 302 state legislators from 40 states, including twelve Iowa legislators, urging him to prioritize tackling global warming in his second term. The move was applauded by Environment Iowa and other environmental advocates across the country.
“This is what leadership in tackling global warming looks like,” said Amelia Schoeneman, state associate with Environment Iowa. “From Superstorm Sandy to this year’s drought, far too many Iowans 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 these solutions to work.”
“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 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.”
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 threshold in damages.
“Climate change is the defining challenge of this generation,” said Sen. Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids. “Climate change is hurting our economy, our health, and our safety. President Obama should act to protect the climate from greenhouse gas pollution for today and future generations, and create jobs with clean, homegrown renewable electricity.”
The legislators joined a growing chorus of small businesses, religious leaders, environmentalists and public health advocates in 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.
“From Iowa’s record floods to our record heat and now our continuing drought, climate change is a reality with an enormous price tag,” said Sen. Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City. “President Obama has the opportunity to clean up the largest source of climate change pollution, our power plants. He needs to take action now before we see even more extreme and dangerous changes in Iowa’s weather patterns.”
“In 2008, President Obama said that we would view this as the time when the planet began to heal and the rise of the oceans began to recede. With President Obama’s leadership, and all of us working together, we can take the climate action that is so urgently needed to safeguard our people and our property now and for future generations,” concluded Sen. Hogg.
NCEL is a non-profit, non-partisan organization formed by state legislators for state legislators to network and promote environmental protection.
Environment Iowa is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.