Oxfam welcomes climate bill, urges increased support for hardest hit

By Oxfam

WASHINGTON, DC — In reaction to today's introduction of the climate change and clean energy bill (H.2454) moving forward in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of international development organization Oxfam America, made the following statement:

"We commend Chairmen Waxman and Markey for moving forward critically-needed comprehensive clean energy and climate change legislation. They should be recognized for their efforts to create momentum toward a clean energy and climate-resilient economy.

"We thank the Chairmen for including critically-needed financing to meet the needs of vulnerable communities worldwide to prepare for unavoidable impacts of climate change and move toward a clean energy development pathway. But we are disappointed that not nearly enough resources are provided for adaptation in the immediate term to address the serious impacts already occurring around the world.

"A substantial increase in resources for the most vulnerable countries will be essential for the President to make progress on fostering a global climate deal in Copenhagen this December. Without this commitment, a global agreement on climate will be in serious jeopardy.

"Immediate investments in climate-related disaster preparation will preempt much greater costs—as much as seven times greater—in future years and are key to avoiding global conflicts and instability. A recent report by Oxfam calculates that the number of people around the world affected by climate-related disasters annually will increase by more than 50 percent, to 375 million people by 2016.

"The bill also places a mandatory limit on global warming pollution, the cause of increasing climate-related harm for vulnerable communities. While the long-term emission targets are robust, the short term targets fall short of what's needed. The bill only aims to reduce US emissions by roughly 3 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, despite recommendations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that industrialized countries together reduce their global warming emissions by 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The more ambitious the emissions cuts, the less the damage vulnerable communities will face.

"There is considerable momentum in Congress right now to address the threats of climate change and transition our economy to clean energy, thereby creating new clean energy jobs and opportunities for US businesses.

"We look forward to working with members of Congress to strengthen the bill and ensure that the President has the necessary tools to broker an equitable and effective global climate agreement in Copenhagen this year. We also look to the White House to help Congress forge an aggressive energy and climate bill that gets the job done and protects those in need."

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