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Napolitano: Feds need to act on climate change

Congress needs to match — and not crimp — efforts by Arizona and other states already moving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global warming, Gov. Janet Napolitano said Wednesday.

“In the absence of meaningful federal action, it has been up to the states to show leadership on this critical issue. And that is exactly what we have done,” Napolitano told a U.S. House committee hearing in Washington, according to a text released by her office.

Napolitano cited action taken by Arizona in such area as automobile emissions, air quality, water consumption and forest health.

Also, Arizona is joining other states to track greenhouse gas emissions and reductions and develop a market-based regional trading system to reduce those emissions.

“But state action alone will not address the problems,” Napolitano said, advocating federal action to set strong national goals, create a market-based trading approach to help reduce emissions and support states’ programs.

While Congress may consider legislation to create a federal emissions registry, it shouldn’t undermine a 38-state effort already under way, she said.

“Congress must reach out to states and not pre-empt our leadership,” she said. “Federal legislation should build upon the efforts of the states and provide flexibility for states to take more aggressive action on global warming.”

Global warming is real, with clear evidence “that human activities are contributing significantly to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that is warming our planet,” Napolitano said.

“The scientific evidence is that the West, and especially the Southwest, will be particularly hard-hit in the future by the effects of climate change,” she said.

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