(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
Global Warming is the greatest environmental challenge that we face today.
This hearing marks the 18th global warming hearing this Committee has held since January, but this one focuses on impacts here in our backyard.
I often refer to the recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found if we do not address this problem, we will face impacts such as drought loss of snow pack and water supplies, significant extinction of species, and extreme weather events.
Such impacts are occurring now worldwide and will only get worse over the coming decades if we fail to act.
I recently traveled with nine other Senators to Greenland to see the rapid melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. If Greenland’s ice were to melt entirely, sea-levels would rise by 23 feet worldwide. But increases of even a few feet could cause severe disruption coastal areas around the world.
So often these impacts feel far away, as though they will only occur in other places in the world than where we live.
But today, we will examine the impacts that are close to us here, in Washington, DC. We do not have to travel as far as Greenland to see the impacts of global warming, we only have to travel a few miles to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Chesapeake Bay is already showing the effects of global warming, including sea-level rise, warmer water, erosion of shoreline, and loss of wetlands that protect us from strong storms and provide habitat for wildlife.
Testimony we will hear from leading scientists today, and a variety of published studies, say that warmer air and water in the region will change the Bay ecosystem, contribute to worsening dead zones and harmful algal blooms, and encourage the spread of marine diseases and invasive species.
I ask unanimous consent that a report by the National Wildlife Federation being released today entitled “The Chesapeake Bay and Global Warming: A Paradise Lost for Hunters, Anglers, and Outdoor Enthusiasts?”, be entered into the record.
This report concludes that warming will harm fish, oyster, clam, and crab populations as well as the breeding grounds and migration patterns for waterfowl. Fewer birds are expected to make their way to the Chesapeake Bay. This will also disrupt the ability of watermen, hunters, and anglers to use and enjoy the Bay.
These kinds of impacts are not limited to the Chesapeake Bay. We also are beginning to see some of them in my home state of California.
The good news is that we can do something about this and we will all be better off for it.
The solutions to global warming are good for our economy, good for our security, and good for our planet.
Yesterday, we held a hearing examining green jobs created by global warming initiatives. Witnesses told us that through addressing global warming, we can create potentially millions of new “green collar” jobs. We can address global warming while expanding our economy, improving our energy independence, and enhancing our national security.
These are the reasons why I approach this issue with hope, not fear.
We can rise to this challenge. I am determined that we can and will solve global warming, while strengthening our economy, creating new green jobs, and saving all of our backyards, including our national treasure, the Chesapeake Bay.
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