Ranking Member Bonamici’s Opening Statement for Climate Change Technology Hearing
(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is holding a full Committee hearing titled, “Using Technology to Address Climate Change.”
Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Environment, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici’s (D-OR), opening statement for the record is below.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Johnson, and thank you to our witnesses for being here today.
Climate change is an important issue to our constituents and our country. Today we should be having a robust conversation about climate adaptation and mitigation technologies and policies; we should not be using valuable time trying to discredit established scientific facts. The Science Committee should not be a forum where the human role in climate change is still debated. What would be best for our constituents would be working in a bipartisan manner to determine the best course of action to help them deal with the reality of a quickly changing climate.
The consequences of climate change are well known, and our understanding about how to address the causes of climate change continues to improve. We can no longer sit back and debate the merits of taking action. The time is now. It is critical that we support scientific research about climate, and that we build on rather than break down decades worth of progress on this issue. Several of today’s witnesses will try to present a false choice between climate adaptation and mitigation, but we know that these strategies go hand in hand.
In my home state of Oregon, devastating wildfires tore through the region last summer endangering lives, harming local tourism, and resulting in significant losses for the timber industry. Although it is not possible to say that climate change causes a particular extreme weather event, we need to know more about how climate change increases the frequency and severity of those events. Mitigation can provide near-term relief and help make sure communities are prepared to keep families safe, but adaptation is necessary to address the larger issue of increasing frequency of severe weather events.
Coastal communities in Northwest Oregon have faced the consequences of ocean acidification, rising sea temperatures and levels, hypoxia, and other environmental stressors.
Local shellfish growers and commercial fisheries are seeing the direct effects of climate change in their industries. Both mitigation and adaptation strategies can help people in the district I represent and across the country who are directly affected by droughts, rising sea levels, flooding, and severe weather.
The challenges are not unique to Oregon. In Alaska, for example, more than 30 towns and cities may need to relocate, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, because the permafrost is thawing and destabilizing the infrastructure.
These issues deserve attention. We should be directing more resources to the full range of potential solutions that are available, rather than continuing to debate whether humans contribute to climate change, which the rest of the world considers settled.
I am especially pleased that Dr. Phil Duffy from the Woods Hole Research Center is here to provide a scientific perspective on climate change and discuss the need for more federal research on global change. I also look forward to discussing the need for prompt action on climate adaptation and mitigation, rather than encouraging inaction with claims of uncertainty. I hope the day comes soon when this Committee can talk about and work on bipartisan solutions to address the causes of climate change.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.