Democratic Governors Back Obama's Climate Action Plan

A group of Democratic governors representing 13 states
and the US Virgin Islands has sent a letter to President Obama applauding his
leadership on fighting climate change and pledging to do their own part to
address it.

The letter was signed by Governors Peter Shumlin
(Vermont), John Hickenlooper (Colorado), Jay Inslee (Washington), Jerry Brown
(California), Daniel Malloy (Connecticut), Jack Markell (Delaware), Neil
Abercrombie (Hawaii), Pat Quinn (Illinois), Deval Patrick (Massachusetts),
Martin O’Malley (Maryland), Mark Dayton (Minnesota), John Kitzhaber (Oregon),
Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island), and John DeJongh (US Virgin Islands).

The governors are the latest group of high-profile
leaders and scientists to stand behind the President on this issue.

In
mid-July, a group of 200 evangelicals who also happen to be scientists sent a
letter to Congress
urging them to pass climate change legislation.

And last week, four former Environmental Protection
Agency chiefs who served under Republican Presidents — William D. Ruckelshaus,
Lee M. Thomas, William K. Reilly, and Christine Todd Whitman — wrote a
powerful editorial in The New York Times calling upon Congress to stop denying
scientific evidence and support Obama.

"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," they wrote.

Since Congress refuses to take meaningful action,
progressive states like the ones who signed the letter dated July 31, 2013, are
taking matters into their own hands. The governors’ letter outlines some steps
you can expect them to take in the future.

Here’s their letter:

"Dear Mr. President:

We applaud your recently announced Climate Action Plan
and the federal leadership it brings in response to the growing threats posed
by climate change. We share your commitment to reduce the carbon pollution that
is driving climate change, to better prepare our nation for increasing climate
impacts, and to promote job creation and economic competitiveness in the
growing global market for clean and more efficient energy technologies. While
Congress has failed to take meaningful legislative action on this issue, we
support the commonsense policies that you have proposed and pledge the support
and active partnership of our states and territories as you develop and implement
this plan.

While too many still refuse to acknowledge the
overwhelming scientific consensus of human-caused climate change, the
devastating impacts of climate change in our states are all too real.

Catastrophic storms, extreme droughts, uncontrollable
wildfires, increasingly acidic coastal waters and other climate impacts have
brought enormous economic and environmental costs, and are challenging the way
we respond to disasters and rebuild our communities to withstand future
disasters.

Our states have stepped up to the challenge of reducing
carbon pollution and addressing climate change, and are leading the way. In the
Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
(RGGI) has helped reduce emissions from power plants by more than 30% since
2008. California is successfully implementing a law to reduce carbon pollution cross
the economy and is placing specific caps on sources responsible for 85% of
those emissions. Colorado through legislation will see a 30% reduction in emissions
by 2020

within the state’s largest utility, and many other states
have passed legislation and are implementing policies to reduce their
emissions. And state governments around the country are also preparing for
flooding, sea-level rise, drought and other impacts associated with climate
change, and incorporating such considerations into their capital investments.

States policies to cut carbon pollution through increased
efficiency and clean energy are also reducing energy costs, creating jobs and growing
our state economies. According to the Brookings Institution, jobs in clean
energy industries grew at twice the rate of job growth in the rest of the US
economy over the last decade, thanks in large part to successful state and
federal policies. Increased use of energy efficiency and clean energy is not
only important for our global climate, it also represents an economic
opportunity for our states and an economic imperative for the competitiveness
of our nation.

To best take advantage of this global economic
opportunity, and effectively respond to the threats of climate change, federal
and state governments must work together as partners. Indeed, to prevent the
worst effects of climate change and to prepare our communities for the impacts
we are already seeing, we will need action at the federal, state, local, and
community levels. We therefore appreciate your call for all Americans to join
the fight to beat climate change.

We welcome your directive to federal agencies to work
with states in developing their climate policies, and we applaud your creation
of a Task Force on Climate Preparedness that will include members of state,
local and tribal governments. We request that you work with the states, and
build upon our progress, to develop and implement the elements of your Climate
Action Plan.

States are working with industry and environmental
stakeholders across the country in designing climate emission reduction and
community resiliency programs that span government, private industry, and
personal action, and we stand ready to collaborate with our federal partners on
climate techniques that work.

While Congress has failed to enact the necessary
legislation on this important issue, we support your decision to combat climate
change using successful, existing federal authorities including reducing carbon
pollution from power plants through the Clean Air Act, reducing energy waste
through strengthened efficiency standards, and deploying more renewable energy
on public lands and buildings. These policies will make a meaningful reduction
in climate-changing pollution, and will give our states and territories better
tools with which to plan for and respond to the impacts of climate change. They
will also serve to slash energy costs for consumers and businesses, and promote
growth in America’s innovative clean energy industries. We thank you for your
leadership and we look forward to working with your Administration on essential
efforts to address climate change."

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