Ranking Member Johnson’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 Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), opening statement for the record is below.
Let me start, Mr. Chairman, by expressing my disappointment that 16 months into this Administration, the Science Committee has yet to receive testimony from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Mr. Pruitt has appeared in front of multiple other committees multiple times. Yet, our repeated inquiries as to when we can expect Mr. Pruitt to appear in front of our committee have been met with unfulfilled assurances that plans are in motion. By not inviting Mr. Pruitt to testify you are not only preventing this Committee from carrying out its oversight responsibilities, but you are preventing the American public from holding Mr. Pruitt accountable for his actions. Mr. Chairman, it is not too late. I ask you to commit today to holding a full committee hearing before the August recess with Administrator Pruitt so that members on this Committee can do their jobs and get answers for the American people.
Today's hearing should be an opportunity to have a comprehensive discussion about the necessary climate adaptation and mitigation strategies our country needs to address climate change. Instead, today's hearing is a continuation of the Majority's seemingly unending attempts to call into question climate science and promote delay instead of action. We will hear familiar stories from two witnesses who are making repeat appearances, one of whom who has testified numerous times in the past, espousing the same views on climate for that we have heard before. Climate is a complex and critically important issue. We cannot do good oversight if we only hear from those whom we have already heard.
Despite the title of this hearing, none of the witnesses invited by the Majority are themselves developers of technologies used in climate adaptation. Instead, the hearing seems to be focused on setting up a false policy choice between mitigation and adaptation strategies. In reality, adaptation and mitigation are not either/or solutions, and there is strong evidence to suggest that both adaptation and mitigation strategies are necessary. The Risky Business Project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the 2017 National Climate Assessment, all recognize that near-term and long-term benefits from mitigation, and long-term benefits from adaptation, are mutually achievable.
Let me state this clearly: the reality of climate change is inescapable. Our planet is warming, and human activity is a major driver of that warming. The visible impacts of climate change are everywhere, and while the Trump Administration has already set us on a backwards trajectory when it comes to dealing with the causes of climate change, we must not permit a similar retreat when dealing with responses to climate change.