While today’s hearing will examine the underlying science of this issue and concerns about climate change, I’d like for us to also focus on the agricultural, economic, and geopolitical consequences we can expect from glacial and sea ice melt and—more importantly—how we can address those.  

For instance, polar ice sheets cool ocean currents which affect global weather patterns. As I’ve mentioned once or twice, weather issues are of paramount importance to farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma and around the world. We do not have a firm grasp of how these weather patterns will change due to melting and how we can prepare for these changes.

I also want to consider the economic and geopolitical consequences of glacial and sea ice melt. Five countries, including America and Russia, border the Arctic. Territorial disputes in this region will take on greater importance as resource-rich land and new shipping routes are revealed.

There are significant economic implications from the energy rights, mineral deposits, and tourism opportunities. For instance, Russia is claiming that some newly accessible routes should not be considered international waterways but part of their sovereign territory. Better research will give us greater insight into how we can expect shipping routes to change so we can prepare to address these issues.

As the Science Committee, we have the responsibility to address our national research priorities and those must be broader than just how the climate is changing. We need to understand its specific effects so we can adapt and continue our economic growth.

During our first full committee hearing of this Congress, members of this Committee discussed how we must embrace a broad portfolio of basic research, energy innovation, and competitive technology to make energy production cleaner, more efficient, and less costly.

I hope we can spend more time considering research into innovative technologies like nuclear reactors, battery storage and carbon capture.

I’d like to thank our witnesses for being here today, and I look forward to our discussion.