Putting Aside Partisan Differences for Environmental Change (Rep. Bart Gordon)

Earth Day provides us an excellent opportunity to put aside ideological differences and face the challenges of climate change head on.

Over the past year, events have finally helped create consensus that climate change requires government action and international cooperation.  Earlier this year, my committee held hearings to explore the ramifications of the latest Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) reports.  The first report highlighted the growing scientific consensus that human influence is causing the climate to change. The second report provided a powerful statement of the impacts of climate change around the world.

As Chairman, I was encouraged to see the broad bipartisan agreement and interest in the science of climate change.  As a committee with important jurisdiction over this issue, we will be active in working on legislation to address this global crisis. 

We will work to increase the quality of research looking at the impacts of climate change.  We will also address the regional impacts of climate change, such as water shortages in the western states, the destruction of local economies due to increased warming, and the displacement of coastal communities; and spur the cutting-edge research and new technologies needed to combat these changes.

If we do not act to stem the rise in temperature, our children will suffer breathing problems at an increasingly alarming rate, our agricultural crops will be destroyed by drought and flood, our sportsmen will continue to see migratory bird and fish populations dwindle, and our children's ball games will be held at night or indoors.

Soon, my Committee will also review the national security implications of climate change and hopefully follow that up with means to provide the information this country needs to understand climate change and safeguard our citizens.

Our climate is changing, that fact is irrefutable.  Not just on Earth Day, but everyday, it is my sincere hope that we can work together to find practical solutions that protect our world and help our country and its citizens navigate and mitigate these changes.