Washington, D.C.—(ENEWSPF)—April 22, 2014. Rep. Schakowsky issued the following statement in recognition of Earth Day:
Earth Day is a reminder to think about the importance and value of the natural environment around us, but it is also a day when we commit to action. Today, more than ever before, we need to recognize the opportunity that we have to protect our planet from the growing threat of climate change and promote alternative energy sources that will drive our economy into the future.
Last week, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave us the most sobering analysis yet: If we don’t reduce carbon pollution 40 to 70 percent by mid-century and almost 100 percent by 2100, the world will face irreversible and catastrophic climate change. Sea levels will rise, once lush areas will dry up, and people and animals all over the world will struggle to survive.
That challenge presents an incredible opportunity. We have a chance to shift away from fossil fuels that have played a major role in climate change and instead turn toward clean energy sources that will prevent catastrophic climate change and propel our energy economy into the 21st century. We know that we can meet this challenge. On this day 44 years ago, 20 million Americans stood up and demanded protection of their air, land, and water. Less than three years later, the EPA was created and the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act had been signed into law.
We need that same kind of push today. It must include a rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project, whose approval would commit us to 50 years of the dirtiest oil on earth. It must also include a commitment to transition to renewable energy technologies, which are a small but growing portion of our energy portfolio. Full development of U.S. clean energy technologies could reap huge rewards. Committing to renewable energy could make the U.S. the leading exporter of that technology, with a capacity to raise $1.9 trillion in revenue for our economy from 2012 to 2018. It would also help to get more Americans back to work because three times as many jobs are created per $1 spent on renewable energy than on fossil fuel or nuclear energy.
Around the world today, millions are standing up and demanding responsible action to combat climate change. Earth Day was created to protect the environment through mobilization and actions like the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. The challenges we face have never been more pronounced but those past victories prove that we can meet them. We must all make a commitment, every day, to doing our part to protect the earth so that future generations can enjoy it as we have. I promise to do my part.