Representative Markey speaks on campus

April 20, 2007

U.S. Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass) spoke before over 100 members of the Brandeis community Friday. The representative, who is the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet and the recently-appointed Chairman of the House Panel on Global Warming, warned students of the dangers of global climate change.

Professor Dan Perlman (BIO) introduced Markey, stating that the global warming issue will affect every facet of human life, including global disease, poverty, and increased war over increasingly limited natural resources.

Markey, who married science when he wed Assistant Surgeon General Dr. Susan Blumenthal, said that my wife has taught me that in the Jewish culture there is a phrase tikkun olamto repair the earth.

He added that you will be the leaders in the coming generation to solve this problem but to those much is given, much is expected. Markey also added that despite the level of education at Brandeis, many of you would have a fifty-fifty chance guessing whether the head of the [Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)] was a man or a woman I dont even think President Bush knows the name of his EPA chair.

Markey then criticized President Bushs apparent vagueness regarding environmental concerns in his State of the Union. We dont want future generations to have to look at the history books to learn what winter was.

Citing the recent United Nations reports, he also criticized the recent dissenting opinion from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the case Massachusetts vs. EPA, in which he said that everything from Frisbees to flatulence would qualify as a global warming risk based on the courts decisionhis disregard for science was telling, said Markey.

Markey also stated that rising levels of pollution would affect natural resources: There is an estimate, he said, that in 15 years there will no longer be snow on the Himalayas its a one-two punch further emphasizing the need to act now. He also mentioned Hurricane Katrina and 2005s heat waves in Europe as only the beginning of environmental catastrophes: We are going to see an escalation of the problem. The Democrats took us 12 years, 12 years in the desert to come back.

One of Markeys goals was to improve gas efficiency in automobiles, which recently went down from 27 miles per gallon to 25, levels last set in the 1980s. You cant preach temperance from a barstool, Markey stated. Its not rocket science its auto mechanics. Weve gone backward. He added that we are not a leader thats how were seen around the world, and that the fighting in Darfur was based partially on decreasing natural resources.

I tell you our moment is arriving, said Markey. The next few years will be of great opportunity for us. At a minimum, we have a chance of putting the bill on the Presidents desk it will go along with Iraq as the big issue.

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