Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today commended the delegates to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia. On the eve of the conference, Lantos and Chairman Edward Markey of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming authored a letter to Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, also signed by nine other House committee chairs.

“This conference presents an extraordinary opportunity,” Lantos said. “It is critical for the United States to take a leadership role in combating one of the greatest challenges of this generation: global warming. The current administration has for too long sat idly by and watched our planet suffer the consequences of climate change. This conference must be a turning point in the American attitude.”

In the letter to Secretary de Boer, Lantos and the other chairs called the Climate Change Conference a “critical juncture in the development of a global response to the grave threat posed by climate change.” The letter conveys the views of U.S. Congressional leaders, as well as the American public and business communities on the climate crisis, which differ markedly from the current Administration’s position.

“I commend the delegates to this convention, and wish them well as they tackle a singularly important and difficult problem,” Lantos said. “It is my hope that we emerge from this conference a more unified world community, ready to address a problem that affects citizens of every country on this globe by standing together and making real changes to the way we consume and produce energy.”

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (H.R. 6), groundbreaking energy legislation containing domestic provisions that increase the efficiency of American vehicles and require 15 percent of electricity to come from renewable sources, among other mandates. The international portion of the legislation, which Lantos wrote, focuses on major emitters such as China, India and Brazil and supports energy export policy and assistance programs to promote clean-energy production in even the poorest countries.