Armed with New Federal Report, Dems Declare Climate Change 'Not Debatable' and Vow to Act
WASHINGTON -- Democrats vowed that they'll use their new House majority next year to force action on climate change in the wake of a new report from 13 federal agencies that paints a bleak picture of the current and expected effects of global warming.
The National Climate Assessment released Friday is an interagency effort including more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member federal advisory committee. The report was then subjected to peer review and studied by federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present," began the report's introduction. "...This National Climate Assessment concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country. Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours."
The 1,656-page report stresses that "many lines of independent evidence demonstrate that the rapid warming of the past half-century is due primarily to human activities."
Climate change, it adds, has "affected and will continue to affect human health, water supply, agriculture, transportation, energy, coastal areas, and many other sectors of society, with increasingly adverse impacts on the American economy and quality of life."
“Climate change is not debatable, and no region of our country and no sector of our economy will be spared," Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said in response to the report. "While the Trump administration and congressional Republicans continue to deny that climate change exists, Democrats will use our new House Majority to take aggressive action to reduce climate pollution and help communities build their resilience to the impacts of climate change.”
How that will take shape is uncertain. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Friday that Democrats "understand the severity of this challenge and are determined to act."
"We will use our House majority to ensure that this challenge is not ignored," Hoyer vowed. "We will look for every opportunity to advance legislation to address one of the most pressing issues of our time."
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told CBS on Sunday that Congress must "take Trump on, take the fossil fuel industry on, and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energies like solar and wind."
"We have got to rally the American people... but this is not -- this is not an issue where we can debate," he said. "The reality is real. The scientific community has made it 100 percent clear that this is a major crisis facing this country and our planet."