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December 10, 2018

Ranking Member Johnson's Remarks at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union


Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union
Communicating Climate Change: Informing Politicians and Policy Makers

Good afternoon everyone. I am sorry that I cannot be there to speak with you all in person. I want to express my gratitude to Bob Ward of the London School of Economics for inviting me to share some remarks with you.

As I’ve said before, climate change is perhaps the biggest challenge of our time. Warming temperatures across the country can lead to significant negative impacts on our environment, our economy, and our health. These impacts will span generations, including those that have not been born yet.

Following the release of the IPCC special report and Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment earlier this year, it is clear that we cannot sit idly by and do nothing to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Our planet is warming at an alarming rate, with human activity playing the largest role. The consequences of this warming will be devastating, has already begun to impact us in irreversible ways.

It is long past time for us to stop debating the existence of climate change and start discussing the very real impacts of our changing climate on American lives. It is time to stand up for science.

As the Ranking Member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, I have witnessed what often times felt like steps backwards on this issue. That’s why I’m so heartened to see this panel being assembled. We need to continue convening top scientific minds and having conversations like these to find the best solutions for the new climate challenges that we face. As we look forward to next year, with a change in leadership on the Science Committee, you can expect to see a renewed focus on climate change. I hope that the Science Committee will again become a place for thoughtful discussion on not only the state of the climate science, but also on the myriad of impacts, and potential technology and policy solutions that could be implemented to help with climate change adaptation and mitigation.

We were fortunate enough to have had one of today’s panelists, Dr. Michael Mann, participate as a Minority witness for a climate change hearing on the Science Committee this past Congress. I’m glad to see he continues to work hard to communicate key scientific principles to the public.

Before I finish my remarks, I want to leave the panel with questions.

As lawmakers who have a responsibility to protect the public’s interest:

  • How can we best amplify the climate message coming out of the scientific community?
  • What are the ways in which we can engage our constituencies on climate issues in a non-partisan fashion?
  • Will you join with the Science Committee in working toward building a climate resilient America?

Thank you again for inviting me to share some remarks with you all today.