Paris Climate Change Talksby Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Posted on 2015-12-10
SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I am pleased to be here on the floor
with my colleagues--those of us who went to Paris, led by Senator
Cardin, for this climate summit.
At the conference in Paris, more than 180 countries accounting for over 90 percent of global emissions were there. They all submitted their plans for how they are going to reduce emissions, with the goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Centigrade by the end of this century.
One of the things I was impressed with in Paris was that the countries that were there represented everybody from China to the Marshall Islands, and all of them understood that climate change is real, that it is a threat to our planet, and that we have to do something about it. They understand that because they have seen it. They have seen it in their home countries. They have seen rising sea levels, extreme weather events, environmental changes--all linked to global warming.
Here in the United States, we see it too. According to a recent Pew poll, two-thirds of all Americans recognize that climate change is real and that action must be taken to address it. We see it in my home State of New Hampshire, where we are seeing a change in our wildlife population, a change in our snowpacks that affects our ski season, our foliage season is affected, and it has an economic impact on our State. But the exciting thing is--and we saw this very clearly in Paris--that at the local level, mayors, Governors, local leaders around the world understand that we have to take action to address it, and they were there in Paris urging the negotiators to come to some sort of an agreement.
In New Hampshire, we have taken action. With nine other Northeastern States, we have been part of a regional cap-and-trade program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. As a result of that and other actions that we have taken, we are going to meet the goals of the Clean Power Plan 10 years early.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has generated $1.6 billion in net economic value. It has created more than 16,000 jobs across the region. That is one of the benefits of the action we can take to address climate change. As we all know here, it doesn't matter what we do in New Hampshire. It doesn't matter what we do in this country. Unless we get a global agreement in Paris so we are all going to move forward together to address the harmful impacts of climate change, we are going to see the continued sea level rise, the continued extreme weather events, all of the continued negative impacts of that global warming.
Finally, I want to say that for me one of the most exciting things about meeting with people when we were in Paris was hearing that they were cautiously optimistic that we will get an agreement, that we will take action, and we will be able to make a difference for our planet and for future generations.
I was pleased to have Senator Chris Coons from Delaware with us on this trip. I know he is going to talk about what he observed when we were in Paris.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.