President Obama did not attend the UN Climate Change conference now underway in Cancun, Mexico. Also not attending: the head of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, Barbara Boxer. The Democrat from California, though, did have a message for the conferees.
Sen. Boxer has a few suggestions for attainable goals at the Cancun conference. She says delegates should push for more openness about where we are — and where we’re going.
"Ensuring that nations are transparent in reporting their emissions. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know the size of the problem. It’s as simple as that," says Boxer. "So we want to work together, we have to be honest about our emissions. And then we want to make sure the reductions they report can be verified. It gets back to trust, but verify."
She admits the Senate failed to pass a comprehensive climate change bill. But Boxer says delegates at the climate conference shouldn’t conclude that the US is doing nothing to combat global warming. She points to last month's election when California voters refused to overturn a state law that aims to cut emissions to 1990 levels.
She says voters defeated Prop 23, "by an overwhelming margin because they’ve seen with their own eyes the wind turbines and the solar panels and clean vehicles that are the future and they refuse to turn back the clock on California’s commitment to combat global warming."
Boxer says California voters were convinced by scientific facts. She plans to make the science of global warming the topic of committee hearings in the new Congress.