Climate Change—(Continued)by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
Posted on 2014-03-10
MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I rise to join my colleagues to bring
attention to the important issue of climate change. It is time to wake
up and take action--we owe it to our planet, to our country, and to
generations to come. I thank the organizers of this event, Senator
Boxer, Senator Whitehouse, and Senator Schatz, for their leadership on
this issue. This is a problem that must be addressed, and this call to
action is long overdue.
Maryland is one of the most vulnerable States to climate change. Our expansive coastline is greatly affected by rapidly rising sea levels that are eroding our shoreline and causing flooding. We are also starting to see the effects of more frequent extreme weather events, such as flooding, heavy precipitation, heat waves, and droughts. This will cause environmental damage to our shoreline, the Chesapeake Bay, and our water and air quality. It could impact our health by increasing respiratory illnesses. And this will cause economic damage by costing our coastal cities billions of dollars in lost tourism, our farmers heavy losses from droughts and heat waves, and many Marylanders property damage from flooding.
Maryland is leading the way in responding to the dire problem of climate change. Maryland has developed a Climate Change Plan that will reduce greenhouse gases 25 percent by 2020, contribute $1.6 billion to Maryland's economy, and create 37,000 jobs. I am very proud of my State for setting an example and tackling this problem head-on.
The Environmental Protection Agency is also moving forward with its efforts to put forth commonsense rules for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. This has included standards to promote a new generation of clean vehicles, which are expected to save more than 6 billion barrels of oil through 2025 and reduce more than 3,100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. It has also included an effort to limit emissions from new powerplants, and the EPA has pledged to hold listening sessions as it develops rules for existing plants. I support the EPA's actions--they are offering tailored solutions to a complex problem, and working within the Clean Air Act to protect public health.
Even though Congress hasn't been able to agree on a long-term solution to combat climate change, I have worked hard to fund the research that informs us about climate change and will help us develop solutions. As the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee and the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, I funded over $3 billion for climate-related research in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014.
[[Page S1484]] This includes $226 million for NOAA, which uses peer-reviewed research initiatives and partnerships with universities to study regional climate data and make climate predictions. It includes $1.85 billion for NASA's Earth Science program, which examines the Earth on a global scale and develops data that is used for climate prediction models. It also includes $958 million for climate-related research at the National Science Foundation within the Geosciences Directorate and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. I commend the employees at these outstanding institutions who are working every day to develop long-term solutions for climate change, and I will continue to fight hard for robust funding for these agencies.
Climate change is an enormous problem, but it is not enough for us to just recognize the problem. When it is a problem of this magnitude, we must truly rise to the occasion. The science is sound, and the reasons to act are numerous. Let's move it on climate change--the time is now.