Member Statements on the People’s Climate March and UN Climate Summit

September 17, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C.— On Sunday, September 21st constituents from across the country will descend upon New York City for the first-ever People’s Climate March.  This monumental event, supported by more than 1,000 organizations representing roughly 100 million people worldwide, promises to demonstrate the overwhelming public support for climate action and environmental justice ahead of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s Climate Summit on Tuesday, September 23rd. 

The Summit will bring together member nations and other leaders to discuss opportunities for addressing climate change, building momentum for international negotiations in Lima, Peru this December and in Paris, France next year.  

As many recent marquee reports have acknowledged, climate change is no longer a distant threat.  Climate change is here and is already affecting the world around us.  Earlier this month, the World Meteorological Organization reported that in 2013 carbon dioxide was emitted into our atmosphere at a faster rate than any year since 1984.  It is clear: The time to act is now. 

Despite inaction on the part of Congressional Republicans, members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), like the marchers, remain firmly committed to addressing our changing climate.  We encourage President Obama and international leaders to take the steps necessary to ensure the health and well-being of generations now and generations in the future. 

In recognition of the People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit, SEEC Members shared the following statements:

SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Paul Tonko (NY): “This month’s Climate Summit in New York City will set the tone for the next round of comprehensive international negotiations on climate change.  The dangers of climate change and its tremendous social, economic, and environmental costs are becoming more evident every year.  I am encouraged to see that so many citizens plan to demonstrate their concern and commitment to action by taking part in the Climate March this Sunday.  I hope the negotiators will heed the call of those who are marching in New York and others around the world and develop an effective, global response to climate change.

SEEC Co-Chair Rep. Gerry Connolly (VA): “Climate change is not some distant threat that can be passed on to future generations. Its effects are real and growing in every community. I commend this weekend's marchers who are standing up for their communities and demanding action. The United States, and in particular Congress, must be a leader in addressing climate change. As members of SEEC we will continue to demand Congress answer this call and finally act on climate change.”

SEEC Vice-Chair Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME): “Environmental leaders know climate change is real, scientists know climate change is real, average Americans know climate change—everywhere you look there is widespread agreement that the earth is warming because of human activity, but Congressional Republicans refuse to do anything to address this challenge.  Even if they won’t listen to environmentalists or scientists, I hope they will at least pay attention to the thousands of regular, average citizens who are joining this march to make their voices heard.”

SEEC Vice-Chair Rep. Doris Matsui (CA): “This Sunday, New York City will host the largest Climate March in history, just days before President Obama and other world leaders gather for a Climate Summit at the United Nations. I stand with the marchers and 1,000 organizations in strongly urging leaders to commit to a decisive global climate action plan. Extreme and dangerous weather events, polluted air, and a lack of resources are devastating our nation’s communities, and communities around the world.  President Obama has led the charge in combating the impacts of climate change in the US, but we need world leaders to stand in solidarity so we can leave a healthy planet for future generations.”

SEEC Vice-Chair Rep. Rush Holt (NJ): “I hope that the collective voices of those marching in New York will reach the ears of those in Congress that would deny the overwhelming scientific evidence telling us that the climate is changing, and that human action, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, is the cause. Climate change has already imposed horrific costs in dollars and lives. The costs of inaction will be far greater.”

SEEC Energy Task Force Chair Rep.  Jim Langevin (RI): “Rhode Island is a leader in mitigating the effects of climate change and prioritizing conservation and energy efficiency, but there is still much work to be done locally, nationally and globally. We can learn from our friends and neighbors around the world, and the UN Climate Summit is a wonderful opportunity to do just that, fostering support for green policies across the globe. Through education and collaboration, we can take collective, decisive action to turn the tide on climate change.”

SEEC Climate Task Force Chair Rep. Scott Peters (CA): “Communities across the country, and the world, are already dealing with the harmful impacts of climate change. This is the time for the United States to be leading the world to find innovative solutions that address the causes of climate change and help us mitigate its damage, not standing back and hoping other countries will step up. I’m excited to see the thousands of energetic citizens bringing needed attention to climate change at events around the world this weekend.”

 SEEC Member Rep. Lois Capps (CA): “Climate change is already causing serious economic, environmental, and public health problems here at home and around the globe. We must act now to address climate change and take steps to protect our health and the health of future generations. The People’s Climate March shows that we, as a global community, are serious about addressing this global threat.”

SEEC Member Rep. John Sarbanes (MD): “With more than 3,000 miles of coastline, Maryland is particularly susceptible to sea-level rise and we have a crucial stake in mitigating the disastrous effects of climate change. For this reason, I strongly support efforts like the People’s Climate March, which can play a pivotal role in encouraging our leaders to adopt policies that protect our environment for future generations in Maryland, across the United States and around the world.”

SEEC Member Rep. Jackie Speier (CA): “We cannot resign ourselves to a grim future of drought, fire, and rising seas. Preserving a livable planet for our children and grandchildren is a financial and moral necessity. California’s investment in carbon reduction, renewable energy, and energy efficiency has proven that we do not have to choose between economic growth and environmental protection. We can and must do both.”

SEEC Member Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR): “If you accept modern science, you cannot deny that climate change is happening, is caused by humans and will have extremely serious impacts. The United States, and all governments of the world, has a moral responsibility to act. The People’s Climate March is an important moment of large-scale citizen engagement and advocacy, and one that I hope will be remembered as a turning point in inspiring world leaders to take action to meet this global challenge.”

SEEC Member Rep. Mike Quigley (IL): “Across the country and around the globe, climate change is harming local communities with everything from air pollution that threatens the public health to extreme weather that devastates our neighborhoods. Climate change is real, with very real consequences that require immediate action, and I’m proud to support the People’s Climate March and UN Climate Summit in this unprecedented effort to mobilize such a diverse climate coalition among the international community.”

SEEC Member Rep. David Price (NC): “The scientific evidence clearly demands action on climate change.  Fortunately, we don’t have to make a choice between protecting the environment and growing our economy.  Supporting renewable energy, smart growth, clean transportation, and green infrastructure practices is a good deal for the American people – these investments in our future will create new research and manufacturing jobs, help to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, and make our country a better place to live.” 

SEEC Member Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ):“Climate change is undeniably the greatest challenge of our time – the question is not whether our planet is warming but whether we are committed to meeting this threat head-on. On Sunday, thousands upon thousands of voices in New York and around the world are joining together to answer that question resoundingly, and their answer is yes. As we witness the largest climate demonstration ever amassed, the demand is not just to act on climate change, but to do right by those who will inherit the earth when we are gone. We owe it to them to solve this problem before the effects are irreversible.”

SEEC Member Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA): “The time for debate is over. Climate change is a reality and is being felt across the world. Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, disappearing flora and fauna...these are tangible and devastating consequences of inaction. We cannot wait. We must, as a nation, as a world, come together to take immediate action on climate change.”

SEEC Member Rep. Jim McGovern (MA):“Hundreds of people from Central and Western Massachusetts will be traveling to New York this weekend, joining their voices with others from across the nation to raise awareness about climate change. Contrary to what some of my colleagues in Congress say, climate change is real.  It is happening.  And it is impacting our planet faster than we expected and in ways we never could have imagined. I’m so impressed with the dedication of these marchers, and I thank them for their activism.”

SEEC Member Rep. Keith Ellison (MN): “If Congress won’t take meaningful steps to slow dangerous climate change, then the people must demand action by organizing. The People’s Climate March is an act of self-defense.”

SEEC Member Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO):“Climate change is an environmental, economic, and ecumenical imperative. It is also an opportunity. The People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit remind us all that everyone can step up and take climate action. The need has never been greater. The time is now. The hour is here. Let us turn from words, toward action, from contemplation and consideration, toward conscious cooperation.”

SEEC Member Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH): “I am deeply troubled by how often environmental issues are pushed aside in Washington. The environment is not a backburner issue – it must be a national, non-partisan priority. From developing clean, sustainable renewable energy sources to bringing deforestation under control, we have the power and the moral obligation to stop climate change before it’s too late. That’s what I have fought for in Congress as a member of the Natural Resources Committee. All of us have a sacred obligation to preserve and protect the environment for future generations.”

SEEC Member Rep. Mike Honda (CA): “Climate change is happening right in front of our eyes. Cities and towns in my district are facing the danger of sea-level rise. Action must be taken now to ensure that our cities are able to handle floods and other impacts of climate change. Globally, we must take action to mitigate the effects of the changes that have already begun, and find innovative solutions that will decrease the carbon pollution that is driving these changes. Next week, United Nations leaders will come together to discuss how nations can begin to think about climate change. This weekend, thousands of people will hit the streets of New York City in the first ever Climate Change March, to tell those leaders they are ready for more than words, they want to see action on climate change. I applaud their dedication, and will be marching with them in spirit.”

SEEC Member Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD): “The bold action needed to address climate change is only possible with a groundswell of public support. Every participant in this year’s People’s Climate March has a hand in convincing policymakers to take decisive steps to protect our health, our climate, and our economy. I will continue to push for solutions to build on the progress we’ve made developing clean and renewable sources of energy to halt the negative impacts that climate change is already having on our health and economy.”

SEEC Member Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA): "In my community and across the world, the effects of climate change are already being felt. While I was proud to see President Obama act to meet the United States' obligation to deal with greenhouse gas emissions, it is clear that in order to deal with a challenge of this scale that global cooperation will be vital. The time to act is now, and I hope that the People’s Climate March and UN Climate Summit will spur the global community into action."

SEEC Member Rep. Jim McDermott (WA): “Seattleites have long recognized the need to act on climate change. I am pleased to see the United Nations working together to take action on this issue. With our international partners moving forward, multinational and American businesses accounting for future prices on carbon, and even former Republican officials acknowledging the urgency of this growing threat, it is time for Congressional Republicans to accept the science and work together with Democrats to combat climate change. The American public demands it.”