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Public Statements

Global Warming is Real

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. QUIGLEY. Mr. Speaker, if anecdotal evidence were science, I would be standing here proclaiming that global warming is real, just step outside. It is severely hot, oppressive, simply unenjoyable. Often, I feel as if I'm standing behind an 18-wheeler blowing heat and exhaust in my face. But no, I'm just walking my dogs in Chicago no less. Chicago, the city of snow. Yes, snow, the stuff that emboldened those who said that global warming was a farce. ``Just think about that snow piled up against your door,'' they said.

But global warming is part of a larger climate crisis--climate change. It is something the Union of Concerned Scientists say includes such events as more extreme storms, more severe droughts, deadly heat waves, rising sea levels, and more acidic oceans, to name a few. You might have noticed I'm citing the Union of Concerned Scientists, not the group of folks who notice anecdotally that the weather was extreme. It would do us good to heed the words of science and not the remarks of a few casual observers.

I don't make my case that global warming is real because it's hot, just as it doesn't follow that global warming isn't real when it's cold. Extreme weather is climate change. Over 200 peer-reviewed scientific studies have concluded that global warming is real and potentially catastrophic. No scientific peer-reviewed studies have found the opposite--none.

As of July 3, 56 percent of the continental United States was experiencing drought conditions. This marks the largest area affected by drought in the 12-year record kept by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Scientists note that temperature records reveal a long-term trend for warming that has been picking up speed. The first decade of this century was the warmest on record, according to NOAA's State of Climate in a 2010 report. It is real because science tells us so.

We have sustained 1,644 record heat days from January to June of 2012. We have endured 631 days of record rainfall. We have shoveled our way out of 98 days of record snowfall. The prolonged heat wave this past spring included the hottest March since recordkeeping began in 1894. There were 671 records that were broken, according to the National Weather Service. April marked the end of the warmest 12-month stretch ever in the United States.

What does all this snow, rain, heat, drought, ocean acidity, and raging forest fires mean? Scientists say it's global warming. Scientists say that our warming climate is causing more and more extreme weather events, and they can and will get worse by our inaction.

Several weeks of snowmageddon, which prompted taunts of Al Gore by Congress, do not disprove scientific fact. At the same time, the brutality of today's untenable heat does not solidify my stance any more than the snow disproves Al Gore. Local temperatures taken as individual data points have nothing to do with the long-term trend of global warming.

To get a real hand on global reading, scientists rely on changes in weather over a long period of time. Looking at high- and low-temperature data from recent decades shows that new record highs occur nearly twice as often as new record lows.

So, no, my belief in global warming isn't sprung from a conversation with my neighbor nor a straw poll of people I'm sitting and sweating with at a Cubs game. My belief in global warming is borne of a respected acknowledgement of sound science that tells us that global warming is real.

As Winston Churchill said, ``I never worry about action, but only about inaction.'' My concern--my fear--is that we have gone too far to save the planet we've neglected to protect because we've traded science for reading the wind.

Global warming is real, and the extreme weather and sound science demonstrate that this is so. Let us know the crippling fear of inaction no longer.


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