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Maura Schumacher, Detroit Lakes, Minn., Published June 18 2013

Letter: IEA urges leaders to act on climate

On June 10, the International Energy Agency issued a report stating that global carbon dioxide emissions from energy use have risen 1.4 percent in 2012, which sets a record and could drive global temperatures far above international climate goals (“Redrawing the Climate Map,” June 2013). This is the latest in a long line of statements from scientists making it clear that global warming is real, and that the effects will only grow worse unless we cut emissions of the carbon pollution fueling global warming.

If action is not taken before 2020, the IEA warns, it will be disastrous for all countries because we will be locked into an energy infrastructure that depends on finite resources whose effects are devastating to all levels of life.

Thankfully, we have the clean energy solutions at our fingertips to tackle this problem. Carbon capture techniques at coal-burning power plants have already been put to effective use and our potential for renewable energies is virtually limitless. Immediate action must be taken by our government officials to set standards within the energy sector and to put these solutions to work.

Right now, the Obama administration is developing carbon pollution limits for new power plants, but they have yet to finalize these standards – even though a record 3 million Americans voiced support for the standards last year. The IEA’s report makes it clear that we can’t wait. I urge President Barack Obama to back up his strong words on global warming with strong action to clean up power plants.