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Global Warming

Senator Amy Klobuchar challenges Senate to follow business, military, and public’s lead on reality of climate change

post-top-klobuchar_cOn July 28, in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D – Minnesota) challenged the Senate to unanimously adopt a resolution stating that it acknowledges we have a climate change problem.

”We have an obligation to our constituents and to this country to address global climate change. We must tackle the challenge head-on. This is an issue facing all Americans—from farmers struggling with extreme weather from drought, to floods in seaside communities threatened by rising waters, to habitat changes that are impacting our hunting, fishing, and outdoor economy, to businesses trying to mitigate the financial risks posed by the effects of climate change.”

She drew on the peer-reviewed assessments of scientists that outline the extent of the risks to our economy and national security:

“It is clear climate change poses a grave threat to food security, the environment, and our national security, as well as to our businesses. Yet achieving a commitment to at least admit this problem is going on in the Senate has fallen short. That is the point of our direct resolution that simply states the facts—the science—about climate change and the impact it is having on our country.

The resolution draws from the 2014 National Climate Assessment which was drafted by 300 climate experts and extensively reviewed by a 60-member advisory committee and the National Academy of Sciences. The National Climate Assessment states the science very simply. The most recent decade was the Nation’s warmest on record and U.S. temperatures are expected to continue to rise.

All the resolution says is that it is the sense of the Senate that global climate change is occurring and will continue to cause ongoing risks and challenges to the people and the Government of the United States.”

Senator Klobuchar credited business leaders who are calling for national leadership to mitigate the economic risks caused by climate change, and entered a link into the record to the June 14, 2014 report, “Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States.”

“So what are we hearing from the business community? We have conservative businesspeople such as former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under George Bush, Hank Paulson, speaking out. He, along with former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and eight other prominent business and policy leaders, recently released the first comprehensive assessment of the economic risks our Nation faces from the changing climate, including increased coastal storm damage, reduced productivity in some areas of the United States because they have become too hot for outdoor work, strained energy networks, and expanding public health impacts. This report represents an important first step toward a true accounting of the risks of climate change so the American business community can begin to work toward effective climate risk management.”

The report co-authors include Greg Page from Minnesota-based Cargill:

“Greg Page is someone I know, the former head of Cargill, the CEO of Cargill, a multinational company—the biggest company in the United States— based in Minnesota. The executive chairman of Cargill is a part of this report warning the business community, looking at what the risks are to the business community.”

Senator Klobuchar highlighted the leadership statements of scientists, businesses, congregations, and conservation groups urging national climate action:

“So now we have scientists, business leaders, church groups, and outdoor groups all out in front of this issue. …Yet where is the Senate? Where are we?

We have an opportunity today, to pass this simple resolution saying it is the sense of the Senate that global climate change is occurring and will continue to pose ongoing challenges to the people and the Government of the United States.

We just have to take one step today; that is, to simply tell the world we know there is a problem. We are not here trying to give all the solutions. We know colleagues disagree with this in terms of what we should do, depending on where they are from or what States they represent. But to even start having those discussions, we have to admit there is a problem.”

Senator Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, and the resolution had 21 cosponsors as of July 28:

“We now have 21 cosponsors. We are adding daily. We have cosponsors, of course, from coastal States. States such as Hawaii and Maine see the effect of the water all around them. Independent Senator ANGUS KING is a cosponsor of this resolution. We have Colorado, with Senator UDALL and Senator BENNET, who are cosponsors, who understand the risk of wildfire and what they see in their State with climate change. We have States in the Midwest, such as Iowa, with Senator HARKIN; Michigan, with Senator STABENOW, the chair of the Agriculture Committee. They understand what drought means to farmers.”

We are proud that Senator Amy Klobuchar pointed to the fact that Minnesotans value science:

“This is science. These are facts. In my State we embrace science. We brought the world everything from the pacemaker to the Post-it note. We are the home of the Mayo Clinic. We believe in science.”

We applaud Senator Klobuchar’s leadership in calling for the Senate to go on record about the reality of climate change. She emphasized the fact that the people we entrust with national security are ahead of the Senate in calling for climate action:

“From the Department of Defense, the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review of the Department of Defense states that ‘‘the pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world.”

“All of these military branches and people from the branches of our military who look at this as a security risk are looking at this and literally following the oath. They are doing what they are supposed to do—their duty, their duty to protect our country—and they see this as a threat to national security, to the United States, a threat to our standing in the world and to the scarce resources we are seeing with water not only in the United States but all across the world as a threat.”

“We are going to have major debate on how to solve this problem. That debate is going on right now. …The people are in front of us again. The businesses are in front of us. The church groups are in front of us. The scientists are in front of us. The hunting groups in my State are in front of us. It is time that we acknowledge we have a problem and then move on to fix it.”

Senator Klobuchar asked for unanimous consent to pass the resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on global climate change. Senator James M. Inhofe (R – Oklahoma) objected and the vote did not occur. Senator Klobuchar pledged that the Senate Climate Action Task Force will bring this resolution back for a vote in the Senate:

“(Y)es, we will be back. I am someone who likes to get things done, and I believe the first thing we need to do is to get an agreement here on the fact that we have a problem. Once we have done that, we can move on and work on those solutions.”

“We are going to have major debate on how to solve this problem. That debate is going on right now. …The people are in front of us again. The businesses are in front of us. The church groups are in front of us. The scientists are in front of us. The hunting groups in my State are in front of us. It is time that we acknowledge we have a problem and then move on to fix it.”

On July 28, in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator Amy Klobuchar challenged the Senate to unanimously adopt a resolution stating that it acknowledges we have a climate change problem.

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