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Global Warming Hearing on Youth Leadership

November 5, 2007

The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming is currently holding a hearing, “Youth Leadership on Climate Change.” The hearing coincides with Power Shift 2007. From the hearing announcement:

Thousands of Youth Leaders Push Energy, Climate Action on Capitol Hill
Select Committee Hearing, Major Rally on Capitol Lawn for Energy Bill Passage

WASHINGTON — On Monday thousands of young energy and climate leaders will descend on Capitol Hill to send a message to Congress: we must pass the energy bill before Congress so we can begin the transition towards a cleaner, safer, more prosperous future without oil dependence or global warming.

The day of events starts with several of these leaders appearing before Chairman Edward J. Markey and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Chairman Markey and those testifying will then travel to the West Lawn of the Capitol to meet thousands of supporters who will call for more green jobs, more renewable energy, and higher fuel economy standards, among other clean energy measures.

Congress is currently considering energy legislation that would raise fuel economy standards for America's vehicles to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, increase the use of renewable energy, and create millions of new “green collar” jobs. If the legislation is passed with all the best elements intact, it would save more than twice the amount of oil America currently imports from the Persian Gulf, and reduce the total amount of U.S. heat-trapping emissions by roughly 40 percent of what's needed to save the planet from dangerous global warming, all by 2030.

Watch the hearing live via committee webcast or on C Span 2.

Katelyn McCormick of Students Promoting Environmental Students:

McCormick: “As Americans, it is our civic responsibility to respect our people and our land. It is our civic responsibility to take care of our nation. But as human beings it is our moral responsibility to be just and fair. Standing here today I feel like a child telling her father that someone has been unfair and asking him to make it better. I shouldn’t have to tell anyone that our actions are unfair. As a nation we should always be striving for fairness, working to right our wrongs. Instead, we are creating more problems and more injustices. It is apparent that I am not the only person who feels this way. There is a movement happening, youth everywhere are recognizing our world’s energy crisis and we are stepping up to fix it.”

Billy Parish of the Energy Action Coalition:

Parish: “I want to finally recognize the thousands of young people today standing shoulder to shoulder for the largest climate lobby day in US history. [applause] Remember, remember, the fifth of November. An unstoppable movement has taken root in every school and every community in this nation. A generation has come to Washington today to lead, to be heard, and to find allies in this Congress who are ready to do what is necessary to solve our climate crisis.”

Brittany R. Cochran of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative:

Cochran: “As a child, I listened as a woman who assumed the role of my grandmother accused petrochemical plants of polluting our environment. She blamed them for the death of her daughter who died of breast cancer in her mid 30s. I watched her battle major companies and win. At that time, I did not realize I was inheriting an interest and awareness in environmental justice. As a young adult, I have decided to join the fight for a clean and just environment for all.”

Cheryl Lockwood of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action:

Lockwood: “We have also been having decreasing in subsistence food, like our moose, our fishing, our seals and whales, all the native foods that we eat off the land. The berry picking spots that we go every single year are not there anymore. The hunters are more in danger in the wintertime because they go out on the ice and a lot of them have fallen through….just through my lifetime I’ve seen so many changes in our communities that it just hurts, it’s really scary to lose our tradition, our culture. We’ve been living here for thousands of years and it’s not just that we’re losing our food, it’s losing our homes because we are spiritually connected and emotionally and physically connected to our homes. There are so many communities that are in trouble. It’s an emergency, we need to take action now.”

Chairman Ed Markey questions the witnesses:

Chairman Markey: “Mr. Reagan, you were talking about raising the fuel economy standard from 25 miles per gallon to 35 miles per gallon, and having 15% of all of our electricity come from wind and solar by 2020. Do you think that the young people are ready to rally behind that over the next four or five weeks?”
Mike Reagan, California PIRG: “We’re ready, we’re going to be…” [applause]