Acting on Climate Change
Throughout the 117th Congress, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology acted in the fight against the climate crisis. In this effort we held hearings, drafted and passed legislation, and moved the conversation forward on strong, innovative climate policy. Protecting our planet, our people, and serving as stewards for the next generation requires a coordinated effort. We look forward to furthering our efforts as we continue the 117th Congress.
- Committee leaders held multiple hearings on the climate crisis. From examining the science behind the impacts of climate change, to working towards climate equity, and reviewing the climate strategies of our federal agencies including the Department of Energy and National Space and Aeronautics Administration, we are working to address climate change from every angle.
- Held a hearing in response to the Texas Grid failures. In February 2021, severe winter storms caused extended power outages in Texas and other southern and midwestern states. On March 18, 2021, the Committee held a hearing to understand what caused these outages and to examine associated grid research and development needs. The hearing also served as a legislative hearing for H.R. 4939, the Grid Security Research and Development Act introduced on August 6, 2021 by Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA).
- Held a hearing on the pathways of sustainable aviation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in its annual inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) shows that aviation emissions have consistently increased at a faster pace than any other area of transportation in recent years. On March 24, 2021, the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing to examine research and technology approaches to sustainable aviation, including activities for improving the energy efficiency and reducing the climate and environmental impacts of civil and commercial aviation; inform research and development priorities to achieve emissions reduction goals for the aviation sector; and other issues.
- Passed legislation to protect our oceans. 2021 is the beginning of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. As part of a large effort to protect our Oceans, on May 18, 2021 the House passed H.R. 1447, the “Coastal and Ocean Acidification Stressors and Threats (COAST) Research Act of 2021”. This bipartisan legislation addresses ocean acidification, the gradual decrease in oceanic pH due primarily to the absorption of excess atmospheric carbon dioxide by seawater, by reauthorizing and updating the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act. The bill was introduced in the House by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Chairwoman Johnson (D-TX) is a cosponsor.
- Held a hearing on plastic waste and how to move from staggering statistics to a sustainable future. Members discussed federal research and development and standards development needs to help address the plastic waste crisis and barriers to the current recycling system. In addition, Members explored challenges and opportunities for adopting sustainable upstream plastic waste reduction solutions and efficacy of existing lifecycle analysis models for assessing the impact of plastic waste and metrics for sustainability. Tackling plastic waste is a priority of Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology. Her legislation, the Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Research Act would play an important role in addressing these issues.