May 14, 2007

Contact: Lynne Weil, 202-225-5021

Washington, DC - Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said the President needs to go well beyond the ideas he discussed today to confront climate change, and to assert U.S. leadership in a global approach to the crisis.

“In urging Congress to adopt his proposed energy measures, the President is preaching to the choir,” Lantos said. “The new majority in the House accomplished more on energy policy by passing just one piece of legislation in January - the CLEAN Energy Act - than the White House did all last year. Let's not forget that during his 2006 State of the Union address the President made a point of observing that America is addicted to foreign oil, but precious little got done after that to break petroleum's pernicious grip. The Administration needs to commit more to solving global warming than a lot of hot air.”

“Since its start, this Administration has done all it can to undermine international efforts to address the global warming crisis,” Lantos noted. “The Kyoto Protocol established a useful framework for action, to be implemented under United Nations authority. But the United States continues to dispatch low-level negotiators to key meetings with instructions to obfuscate and stall. Instead, we need to engage Cabinet-level officials in critical climate change negotiations, to undertake talks that result in binding commitments to reform from all of the world’s polluters, and to provide the right incentives to encourage the export of clean-energy technologies that draw upon the innovation of America’s private sector.”

Next week, Lantos will introduce legislation to reinvigorate international negotiations to stop global warming and to help emerging markets produce energy in a clean and sustainable way. He will discuss his proposed measure tomorrow morning at a hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on re-engaging the United States in the global effort to fight climate change.