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Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA)

Senator Edward Markey is Chairman Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sub Committee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, International Environmental Protection, and Peace Corps

"Leaders and legislators from around the world, welcome to the United States Senate.

We are gathered here in the Kennedy Caucus Room, named in honor of President John F. Kennedy and his brothers, Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. In this room, the events that defined the last 100 years have been discussed and debated. When the Titanic sank, the hearing was here. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the hearing was here. When Watergate was investigated, the hearing was here. And here, together on this day, we have the opportunity to write a new chapter in history. Today, we are here because we are deeply concerned about the future of our planet. There can be no more important gathering than this one, at this moment, with all of you.

We know the stakes. The planet is warming at an alarming rate. And there are no hospitals for sick planets. Climate change is an economic, health, national security and moral issue. Some of your nations are ravaged by drought. Some of your nations are watching the rising seas threaten your people. Some of your nations are recovering from historic storms.

In America, our cities and shores have been battered by hurricanes. Our states have been parched by drought. Alaskan villages are slipping into the sea. All of us are affected, and all of us know it is our moral and professional duty to take action. We have precious little time left to avoid the worst effects of climate change. And we have little time left before the pivotal United Nations climate change negotiations in Paris that will be held in the winter of 2015 to show that we are serious about solving this problem.

I know from experience that negotiators follow legislators. In 2009, when I was in the House of Representatives as Chair of the Select Committee on Global Warming and Energy Independence -- with the extraordinary leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- Congressman Henry Waxman and I passed the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. It is the only climate change legislation to pass a chamber of Congress. No one thought it could be done. A few months later, at the Copenhagen climate negotiations, it was our carbon reduction targets that became the basis for President Barack Obama's negotiating team. Our bill required 17% reductions by 2020, and 80% by 2050.

The more legislation we can pass, the better the negotiations in Paris will be. I am not saying it will be easy. There are those, especially in my country, who are still not convinced that climate change is real. But your actions are the antidote to that intellectual poison. Because they can say that global climate change is not real. But they can't deny that all of you represent global action in your countries to combat climate change. Your efforts are incredible and undeniable.

I pledge to you that I will keep working to pass national laws here in the United States Senate to fight climate change. The first bill I introduced as a U.S. Senator was to require that 25 percent of our electricity comes from renewable energy sources by 2025. 

I thank you for your efforts in your own countries, and for your dedication to protecting our planet and for your leadership to safeguard the futures of your people. We live in an interconnected world. We all experience its wonders. We all marvel at the beauty of its landscapes, the majesty of its mountain ranges and oceans. We all share responsibility for its future.

Together, we can write a new chapter for each of our countries that will say that we listened to our people, to our planet, and to each other. We can say to our children and to generations yet to come that we worked together. That we took the actions and passed the laws that solved one of the greatest challenges of our time - climate change. 

We can meet this challenge, together. We can build a better today and a brighter future, together. Let us go forward from here determined and united in this endeavor to save our planet, our people, our future. And let us do it together".

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