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Democrats: Paris Conference Can Play Key Role in Combating Climate Change

Dec 1, 2015
Press Release

(Washington, DC) - This morning, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing to weigh in on the global protocol being debated in Paris, France, at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21). The main goal of the Paris Conference is to reach an agreement on provisions aimed at reducing man-made Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The negotiations, which are set to conclude on December 11, have already produced commitments from 183 parties to limit and/or reduce their GHG emissions.

Testifying before the Committee, today, were Mr. Oren Cass, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Mr. Andrew Grossman, Associate, Baker & Hostetler LLP, Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, President, Copenhagen Consensus Center, and Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute.

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said, “Our efforts to reduce carbon emissions through the Clean Power Plan and the Climate Action Plan have helped to motivate other nations to act in a similar manner. Climate change is not the problem of any one country; it is a problem facing all nations and only through a combined effort can we be successful.

“… leaders of China, India, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and more than a dozen other nations joined the United States in launching “Mission Innovation,” a pledge to double investments in clean energy R&D over the next five years. At the same time, a group of 28 influential investors from 10 countries led by Bill Gates has formed ‘The Breakthrough Energy Coalition.’ These business leaders are committing billions of dollars of their own money to commercialize promising early-stage technologies developed in countries that are part of the Mission Innovation initiative.

“This powerful public-private partnership is just the most recent sign that the entire world is prepared to act meaningfully to address climate change.”

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) said, “I cannot help but be reminded of what President Kennedy said when he charged this nation to go to the moon. He said, we do these things, ‘not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone.’ It does appear to me that what the Administration is doing with the Clean Power Plan and the commitment to the U.N. embodies the spirit of what President Kennedy was getting at."

Speaking to the importance of the Paris climate negotiations, in his written testimony, Dr. Andrew Steer said, "Taking action is essential because no nation is immune to the impacts of climate change and no nation can meet the challenge alone. Every nation needs to work together, take ambitious action, and do its share. The United States has always provided leadership when the world faces big challenges, and climate change should be no exception. That leadership can ensure a livable planet for ourselves and future generations. "

114th Congress