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Rep. Berman Calls for Hearing on Global Warming

Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Berman Calls for Hearings on Global Warming

Rep. Berman signed a letter to International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde urging him to hold hearings on the impacts of global warming. The text of the letter is below.

The Honorable Henry J. Hyde
Chairman, Committee on International Relations
2172 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20015

Dear Chairman Hyde,

As members of the House International Relations Committee, we are concerned about the impacts of global warming on United States national security and foreign policy objectives. We also believe that, due to increased public attention and growing concern within the scientific community, the time is right for American policymakers to come together with a serious plan to stop global warming. Because both the global effects of and international solutions to this ¡§climate crisis¡¨ fall within our committee¡¦s jurisdiction, we request a full committee hearing on the issue of global warming before the end of the 109th Congress.

In strategic regions across the world ¡V from Africa to the Middle East to South Asia ¡V scientific experts predict growing water shortages, serious damage to agriculture-dependent economies and food security, increased flooding, major population displacement, and greater burdens on fragile states leading to state failure. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that, because of global warming, ¡§many of the gains of human development are now in jeopardy and may be reversed.¡¨ Drought, desertification, and extreme weather events could force over 150 million people to flee their homes as ¡§environmental refugees¡¨ by 2050 and require a much greater investment of U.S. resources in humanitarian aid. With less land and water available for agriculture, in addition to the impact on hunger and poverty, pressure for conflict over resources will increase, as we have already seen in Darfur and the Middle East. New infectious disease ranges and life-cycles caused by global warming could place an unbearable strain on already overburdened health infrastructures in developing countries, and expose Americans to risks similar to or greater than SARS or avian flu.

At the same time, many efforts to deal with these impacts are international in nature and fall under our committee¡¦s jurisdiction. Though it has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the United States continues to participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice launched the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. The Safe Climate Act, introduced by Representative Henry Waxman, has also been referred to our committee. We believe that the United States would also benefit from a review of these and other efforts, as we try to fashion an effective and appropriate response.

While we recognize the limited number of legislative days left in the current session of Congress, we believe that this issue of is such importance and magnitude as to warrant a hearing under your Chairmanship of the committee. We stand ready to work with you to hold this hearing at the earliest practical date.

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