Good morning. This is Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Next week, the leaders of eight of the most powerful nations in the world will meet in Germany to confront a serious problem that affects all of us - global warming.
The agenda for the G-8 Summit is clear and urgent - the world needs to set binding limits on the emissions of heat-trapping pollution that causes climate change.
The world's most renowned scientists now agree that our rapidly warming climate is man-made, not natural.
The scientists tell us that if we don't act soon to curb global warming, we will be on an irreversible course that could lead to widespread famine, disease, flooding, species extinction, and refugees that will be measured in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.
Unfortunately, in answer to this urgent global call to action, this week President Bush continued his rope-a-dope strategy on global warming - shifting from denial to delay.
The President has had six and a half years to enact meaningful limits on global warming pollution, and he has failed. In fact, he hasn't even tried: under President Bush, the United States refused to even participate in the international effort to control global warming.
His new plan is to discuss voluntary goals for another 18 months, guaranteeing that he will end his eight-year term with the United States contribution to global warming pollution considerably worse than when he took office.
I just came back from a trip with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Greenland and Western Europe to meet with leading scientists and political leaders working on solutions to combat global warming.
In Greenland, I witnessed firsthand the effects of rising temperatures, where glaciers are retreating at a dramatic rate and the seas no longer freeze for much of the winter.
When the glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica break up, as they are beginning to do right now, it is a sure sign to all of us that we must change our ways.
And the United States has a special responsibility to lead. China and India must participate, as well.
But if we don't limit our own pollution, China or India will not develop plans to limit theirs.
The world is running a fever, and there are no hospitals to care for Mother Earth. Her future is in our hands.
But the good news is that if we act now, we can reduce global warming while continuing to prosper.
We can unleash a revolution of technological innovation, create large numbers of new jobs, and utilize American initiative in exercising wise stewardship of a precious planet.
The American people know this. Our states, cities and towns, our universities, faith-based communities, major corporations, and millions of individuals are all saying they want our federal government to join with our allies to combat global warming while strengthening our economy.
Democrats in Congress have heard this message.
We are committed to passing strong energy independence and global warming legislation that can harness the unmatched capacity of America for technological leadership in energy efficiency, renewable energy, biofuels, and other innovations such as fuel cells and gas-saving hybrid cars.
We should do everything we can to make America the world's number one exporter of technology to generate electricity from coal without emitting more carbon into the atmosphere.
And we need to make our vehicles, power plants, and other energy producers far more efficient and clean, leading the world, not lagging behind.
We are a competitive and innovative nation. If our government would set aggressive, binding limits on pollution, we would meet it.
If Germany can meet new electricity demand with solar cells, so can we. If England can build zero-carbon homes, so can we.
We are not waiting for President Bush. Democrats are insisting on a new direction, one based on technology, not ideology - on optimism, not fear. President Kennedy once said 'God's work on earth must truly be our own.'
It is our moral responsibility to lead the world to protect our planet. After all, it's the only planet we have.
This is Congressman Ed Markey. Thank you for listening.