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Bonamici, Beyer Lead 96 Members in Calling on Trump to Act on Climate Change, Defend the Findings of the National Climate Assessment

December 13, 2018
Press Release

 

WASHINGTON, DC [12/13/18] – Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Environment Subcommittee, and Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Vice Ranking Member of the Committee, led 96 members in urging President Trump to heed the dire warnings in the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) and act on climate change. The NCA is the most comprehensive science-based evaluation of the consequences of climate change, the risks of inaction, and potential adaptation strategies for the United States to date. In a recent Washington Post interview, the President dismissed the NCA’s findings. The Members call on President Trump to reverse his Administration’s attacks on the environment and take climate change seriously.

 

“We write to convey our grave concern that time is running out for the United States to work to reverse and mitigate the worst effects of a warming climate,” the Members write. “We ask that you heed the dire warning of the Fourth National Climate Assessment and work with us to protect the health of our planet.

 

“The NCA adds to the overwhelming research indicating that the consequences of inaction on climate change will be serious and swift. According to the NCA, without intervention, we will see record heat waves, more acidic oceans, raging wildfires, rising sea levels, and a surge in extreme weather events – all in our lifetime.

 

“The National Climate Assessment makes clear that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the only explanation for the observed global warming over the last six decades. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are now higher than at any time in the last three million years, and we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

“Rather than ignoring the important findings of the NCA, we request that you reconsider maintaining the nation’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and fully implement and enforce the Clean Power Plan, fuel economy standards, methane emission controls, and safeguards for clean air and clean water. We urge you to recognize the value of the NCA as a collaborative, peer-reviewed effort across federal agencies compiled by the nation’s top scientists, and take seriously the grave warnings of the NCA by immediately enacting meaningful policies to protect the environment.”

 

You can read a full copy of the Members’ letter here and below. 

 

In addition to Bonamici and Beyer, the letter was signed by: Raúl M. Grijalva, Peter DeFazio, Zoe Lofgren, Paul D. Tonko, Gerald E. Connolly, Doris Matsui, Anna G. Eshoo, Jerry McNerney, Kathy Castor, Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter, Bill Foster, Charlie Crist, Eliot L. Engel, Bobby L. Rush, Jan Schakowsky, Peter Welch, Ben Ray Luján, Yvette D. Clarke, Scott H. Peters, Debbie Dingell, Matthew Cartwright, Alan Lowenthal, Mike Quigley, Chellie Pingree, A. Donald McEachin, Earl Blumenauer, Daniel W. Lipinski, Marcy Kaptur, Jerrold Nadler, Frederica S. Wilson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Derek Kilmer, John Garamendi, Alcee L. Hastings, Rosa L. DeLauro, Salud Carbajal, Adam Smith, Barbara Lee, Jared Huffman, Grace F. Napolitano, Emanuel Cleaver II, Daniel T. Kildee, Jamie Raskin, Bennie G. Thompson, Mark Pocan, Sean Patrick Maloney, Dina Titus, Ted W. Lieu, Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr., Seth Moulton, Darren Soto, Betty McCollum, Jimmy Panetta, Adam B. Schiff, Rick Larsen, James A. Himes, Susan Wild, John Yarmuth, James P. McGovern, Albio Sires, Gwen Moore, Nydia M. Velázquez, Adriano Espaillat, Brian Higgins, Terri A. Sewell, Mike Thompson, Tim Ryan, Denny Heck, Joe Courtney, Eric Swalwell, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Stephen F. Lynch, Eleanor Holmes Norton, David N. Cicilline, Mark DeSaulnier, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Ruben Gallego, David Price, Gregory W. Meeks, J. Luis Correa, Lucille Roybal-Allard, José E. Serrano, Brenda L. Lawrence, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Wm. Lacy Clay, Jim Langevin, Steve Cohen, Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Judy Chu, Linda T. Sánchez, Joseph Kennedy III, Thomas R. Suozzi, and Susan A. Davis.

 

The U.S. Global Change Research Program released the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment on a holiday weekend as part of a thinly-veiled attempt by the Administration to minimize the findings. Every day until Democrats are in the Majority in the House in January and can take meaningful action on climate change, Bonamici is sharing findings from the National Climate Assessment on Twitter. You can follow along here.

 

As leaders on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Bonamici and Beyer continue to provide oversight over the Trump Administration’s dismissal and disrespect of science. Earlier this year, they led 97 of their colleagues in opposing Acting Administrator Wheeler’s plans to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Science Advisor, the Agency’s independent office for scientific analysis. 

 

Letter Text:

 

December 13, 2018

 

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States of America

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

We write to convey our grave concern that time is running out for the United States to work to reverse and mitigate the worst effects of a warming climate. We ask that you heed the dire warning of the Fourth National Climate Assessment and work with us to protect the health of our planet.

 

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) on a holiday weekend, which appeared to be in an effort to minimize the findings. It is the most comprehensive science-based evaluation of the consequences of climate change, the risks of inaction, and potential adaptation strategies for the United States to date. The NCA adds to the overwhelming research indicating that the consequences of inaction on climate change will be serious and swift. According to the NCA, without intervention, we will see record heat waves, more acidic oceans, raging wildfires, rising sea levels, and a surge in extreme weather events – all in our lifetime.[1]

 

The United States has the ability and the obligation to lead the world’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, but in June of 2017 you announced plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.[2] As a result, the United States has fallen far behind the pledges made in the Paris Agreement and is unlikely to meet the targets set by 2025.[3] Air and water pollution do not recognize international borders. This decision weakens our standing with international allies and further endangers our planet. According to new research from the Global Carbon Project, global carbon dioxide emissions are projected to increase by 2.7 percent in 2018 alone.[4] As negotiations continue at the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United States must show leadership and take meaningful steps to sharply reduce emissions.

 

We should be encouraging states to meet carbon emission reduction standards based on energy consumption, and we should incentivize investment in renewable energy.  Fossil fuel-fired power plants, which would continue to pollute under the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule, would exacerbate and accelerate the effects of climate change. Even the Agency’s own analysis found that the proposed rule will have negative effects on public health, leading to as many as 1,400 additional premature deaths per year.[5] Proposals that increase emissions of dangerous pollutants and harm public health should be resoundingly rejected.

 

Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation have proposed regulations to roll back our greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles. Transportation is a significant source of greenhouse gas pollution in the country, and fuel economy and vehicle emissions standards are effective policies to combat climate change and avoid adverse public health risks. Climate change and hazardous air pollutants disproportionately affect our most vulnerable communities, and these rules are particularly concerning for those communities.

 

Also, methane has the potential to warm the planet by up to 86 times as much as carbon dioxide.[6] Alarmingly, methane accounts for nearly 10 percent of annual U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.[7] Yet recently, the EPA and the Bureau of Land Management proposed rules to weaken methane leak monitoring and repair requirements for oil and gas operations and eviscerate measures designed to reduce methane venting, flaring, and leaks from oil and gas operations on public lands. These proposals once again demonstrate that the Administration is putting special interests ahead of safeguarding public health and access to clean air and clean water.

 

Finally, the National Climate Assessment makes clear that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the only explanation for the observed global warming over the last six decades. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are now higher than at any time in the last three million years, and we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[8] Climate change will harm air quality by increasing ground-level ozone and particulate matter, and it will threaten water supplies.[9] Unfortunately, the EPA is also trying to weaken permitting safeguards and eliminate limits on hazardous pollutants, undermine landmark mercury and air toxic standards for power plants, and weaken a clean water rule that protects water bodies that supply drinking water to tens of millions of people.

 

Rather than ignoring the important findings of the NCA, we request that you reconsider maintaining the nation’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and fully implement and enforce the Clean Power Plan, fuel economy standards, methane emission controls, and safeguards for clean air and clean water. We urge you to recognize the value of the NCA as a collaborative, peer-reviewed effort across federal agencies compiled by the nation’s top scientists, and take seriously the grave warnings of the NCA by immediately enacting meaningful policies to protect the environment.

 

Sincerely,

 

[1] "Fourth National Climate Assessment Summary Findings.” U.S. Global Change Research Program. https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/

[1] "Statement by President Trump on the Paris Climate Accord." June 1, 2017. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-trump-paris-climate-accord/

[1] "Emissions Gap Report 2018." United Nations Environment Programme, November 2018. http://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/26895/EGR2018_FullReport_EN.pdf?isAllowed=y&sequence=1

[1] “Global Carbon Budget 2018” December 5, 2018. https://www.earth-syst-sci-data.net/10/2141/2018/essd-10-2141-2018.pdf

[1] "Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Proposed Emission Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Electric Utility Generating Units; Revisions to Emission Guideline Implementing Regulations; Revisions to New Source Review Program" U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), August 2018. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-08/documents/utilities_ria_proposed_ace_2018-08.pdf

[1] “How Bad of a Greenhouse Gas Is Methane?” Scientific American, December 22, 2015. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-bad-of-a-greenhouse-gas-is-methane/

[1] "Overview of Greenhouse Gases - Methane Emissions." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases

[1] "Fourth National Climate Assessment - Chapter 2: Our Changing Climate.” U.S. Global Change Research Program. https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/2/

[1] "Fourth National Climate Assessment - Chapter 1: Overview.” U.S. Global Change Research Program. https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/

 

 

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[1] "Fourth National Climate Assessment Summary Findings.” U.S. Global Change Research Program. https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/

[2] "Statement by President Trump on the Paris Climate Accord." June 1, 2017. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-trump-paris-climate-accord/

[3] "Emissions Gap Report 2018." United Nations Environment Programme, November 2018. http://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/26895/EGR2018_FullReport_EN.pdf?isAllowed=y&sequence=1

[4] “Global Carbon Budget 2018” December 5, 2018. https://www.earth-syst-sci-data.net/10/2141/2018/essd-10-2141-2018.pdf

[5] "Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Proposed Emission Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Electric Utility Generating Units; Revisions to Emission Guideline Implementing Regulations; Revisions to New Source Review Program" U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), August 2018. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-08/documents/utilities_ria_proposed_ace_2018-08.pdf

[6] “How Bad of a Greenhouse Gas Is Methane?” Scientific American, December 22, 2015. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-bad-of-a-greenhouse-gas-is-methane/

[7] "Overview of Greenhouse Gases - Methane Emissions." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases

[8] "Fourth National Climate Assessment - Chapter 2: Our Changing Climate.” U.S. Global Change Research Program. https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/2/

[9] "Fourth National Climate Assessment - Chapter 1: Overview.” U.S. Global Change Research Program. https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/