The average temperature of our planet is rising, with the majority of the temperature increase occurring in the last thirty years. During the three decades from 1980 to 2011, the number of violent storms, floods, droughts, heat waves, wildfires, as tabulated by the reinsurance company Munich Re, has increased more than three-fold. They also estimate that the financial losses follow a trend line that has gone from $40 billion to $170 billion dollars per year. Most of those losses were not insured, and the country suffering the largest losses by far is the United States. As the President said in his recent Inaugural Address, some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.
The overwhelming scientific consensus is that human activity has had a significant and likely dominant role in climate change. There is also increasingly compelling evidence that the weather changes we have witnessed during this thirty year time period are due to climate change.
Virtually all of the other OECD countries, and most developing countries including China, India, Mexico, and Brazil have accepted the judgment of climate scientists.
China now exceeds the U.S. in internal deployment of clean energy and in government investments to further develop the technologies.
the risks we run if we dont change our course are enormous. Prudent risk management does not equate uncertainty with inaction .
The cost of renewable energy is rapidly becoming competitive with other sources of energy, and the Department has played a significant role in accelerating the transition to affordable, accessible and sustainable energy.
Ultimately we have a moral responsibility to the most innocent victims of adverse climate change. Those who will suffer the most are the people who are the most innocent: the worlds poorest citizens and those yet to be born. There is an ancient Native American saying: We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. A few short decades later, we dont want our children to ask, What were our parents thinking? Didnt they care about us?