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Public Statements

The Safe Climate Caucus

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. BONAMICI. Thank you so much, Mr. Blumenauer, for leading this discussion about such an important topic.

The reality of what we are talking about is really impossible to deny. We've had numerous scientists testify in Congress. You mentioned Dr. Hansen. I want to mention that his first testimony in Congress was 25 years ago. 1988 was the first time that Dr. Hansen, a well-renowned NASA scientist, testified about the problems of climate change--25 years ago. Since, so many peer-reviewed studies have shown the reality of what we are facing and the human impact, a significant contributing factor.

Not only do we have a lot of impacts on the planet, from glacial withdrawal and loss of sea ice, ocean acidification, rising temperatures and rising sea levels, we are feeling the impact here in our country with record droughts in the American Southwest and historic severe weather events. You probably have already mentioned that, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, and NASA, last year, 2012, was the warmest year on record for the United States. The 9 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998.

I want to talk for a minute, Mr. Blumenauer, about some of the effects we are feeling in our home State of

Oregon. We have a reputation for quality wine grapes, including the world-renowned pinot noir grape. The quality of wine is attributable to the climate in Oregon. The pinot grapes grow in a temperature range between 57 and 61 degrees, and a minor variation threatens the quality of the grapes and the value, significant value, to Oregon's economy.

Also, the district that I represent, and I know you've been out to our Oregon coast frequently, includes the shellfish industry. There's a thriving fishing community there. There's dungeness for sale on the commercial market and recreational crabbing that helps draw tourists over to the coast. In recent years, the changes have caused low oxygen content in the water. Hypoxia is the condition that results. It is creating dead zones in our ocean that kill fish, crab, and other marine life.

This is a serious problem that's affecting the industry over there. There's a shellfish hatchery, Whiskey Creek, over in Tillamook that supplies three-quarters of the oyster seed used to produce shellfish up and down the West Coast. It's an industry worth $110 million annually. Their stock of oyster seed is being threatened by the rising acidity of the ocean, which is, again, a serious impact of climate change. So right there in Oregon there's two examples, economic examples, of how our local industry is being affected.

Oregonians, I know, as well as people around this country, they're looking to us for solutions. They're looking to us for leadership. So we need to discuss how we are going to mitigate and begin to reverse these environmental and economic effects. We have a great responsibility, not only to our own home States, but to our country and the rest of the world, and we need to take a leadership role.

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Ms. BONAMICI. If I may add, too, that it calls out for continued investment in alternative technologies and energy from electric vehicles to hybrid vehicles to alternative fuels, solar power, wind power, and bicycles. We need to continue that research and investment in those alternative technologies to decrease our dependence on foreign fuel.

One of the things that I want to mention too and what we have debated here on the floor is how much we're going to spend to clean up after disasters. That is something that we have debated here on the floor.

I want to point out that a recent GAO report for the first time lists climate change as a significant financial risk to the Federal Government. We're not well positioned to address the fiscal exposure presented by climate change.

As a Nation, we've become too familiar with the consequences of waiting until the 11th hour to develop solutions. The time is now to work together, to begin to reverse these changes, to develop alternative technologies, to come up with policies that will begin to take on this very serious problem and build our economy at the same time.

And even for those who dispute or ignore the scientific evidence of climate change, we can still discuss the economic gains we can make by investing in a clean-energy economy and modernizing our infrastructure and seeking energy independence, which is also a national security issue, as you had mentioned, as well.

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Ms. BONAMICI. I know we join you in that.

I also wanted to mention, while you're talking about renewable energy, the great promise of wave energy as well with the coast.

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