Avoiding the worst impacts of climate change requires aggressive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for inevitable changes in sea level, air temperature, and precipitation patterns.
Economy-wide limits on greenhouse gas emissions are an essential foundation; however, a cap on emissions is only part of a comprehensive solution. Existing federal environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act are increasingly recognized as providing the authority, mandate, and responsibility for immediate action.
The Center for American Progress welcomes a panel that will extend this discussion to the role of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Congress established NEPA in 1969 to provide a systematic, interdisciplinary approach that ensured the integrated use of natural and social sciences in planning and decision making. Unfortunately, we find that nearly 40 years after this landmark legislation the federal government lacks a systematic process for evaluating the implications of federal actions for greenhouse gas emissions or the effects of global warming on these actions. The absence of such considerations contradicts the intent of NEPA and deprives decision makers and stakeholders of essential information needed to understand the implications of federal actions for one of the most important social, economic, and environmental challenges of our time. Please join us for an important and timely discussion about the application of existing federal authorities to address global warming, including a proposed executive order requiring assessment and disclosure under NEPA.
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Bruce Babbitt, former Secretary of the Interior
Kit Batten, Managing Director for Energy and Environmental Policy, Center for American Progress
Jonathan Cannon, Director, Environmental and Land Use Law Program, University of Virginia School of Law
Chris Pyke, Director of Climate Change Services, CTG Energetics, Inc.
Carol Browner, Principal, The Albright Group LLC