Durbin, climate experts urge action on global warming

April 4, 2012 9:42:17 AM PDT
An Illinois lawmaker and climate experts are sounding the alarm about global warming, saying we are already feeling the effects of it, and it will only get worse if drastic measures are not taken.

Who could forget the Blizzard of 2011? Lake Shore Drive was paralyzed and we were buried in snow. Senator Dick Durbin evoked those memories Wednesday morning in an effort to get tougher on global warming.

Durbin was joined by climate experts and emergency managers near Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue to jog people's memory and release a new study.

The study was conducted by Environment Illinois, which is a statewide environmental advocacy group. It says the severe weather-related disasters in the United States coupled with the emerging science on the links between global warming and extreme weather suggest the U.S. should take strong action to reduce emissions of global warming and take steps to protect communities.

They say more Americans were affected by weather-related disasters during 2011 than in any year since 2004. In Illinois, Chicago had its third largest snowfall in history with the Groundhog Day blizzard, and in Cairo, Illinois, the entire city was ordered to evacuate after devastating flooding from the Mississippi River.

Senator Durbin says these disasters are too costly

"President Obama is on the right track, increasing the fuel efficiency of the cars and trucks we drive means the same amount of miles and less fuel burned, less pollution," said Durbin. "The same thing is true when it comes to electric-power generation. These are things that we need to encourage and not fight."

Last week, the Obama administration backed new EPA regulations and forged ahead with the first-ever limits on heat-trapping pollution from new power plants. Republican opponents have been protesting, saying the regulations will raise electricity prices and kill off coal, the dominant U.S. energy source.