Just the Facts

Five Facts on the Climate Change Debate

By Emma Petasis
February 7, 2019 | Blog

On Tuesday night, President Trump gave his State of the Union Address, where he covered a myriad of topics. Notably absent however, was any discussion of climate change. On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives conducted its first committee hearings on climate change in eight years. Here are five facts on the current discussion surrounding climate change.

The Last Five Years Are the Hottest Since Record Keeping Began.

The last five years—from 2014 to 2018—are the warmest ever recorded in the 139 years that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has tracked global heat, according to a report that was released Wednesday.

More Americans Than Ever Before Are “Very Worried” About Climate Change.

In January, researchers from Yale University and George Mason University surveyed the United States to track public opinion on climate change since 2008, and its effects. CNN reports that 3 in 10 respondents recorded being “very worried” about global warming and its effects. The survey, which polled over 1,000 respondents, found that 7 in 10 think global warming is happening, and those who think global warming is real outnumber disbelievers 5 to 1. This study comes on the heels of intergovernmental organizations releasing reports to educate the public on climate change and its effects. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the United Nations body for assessing science on climate change) and the United States national climate assessment report in 2018 both made waves with urgent reports that warned of the worsening impacts of climate change including heat waves, extreme weather and drought.

Democratic Lawmakers Released the Green New Deal Thursday.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the Green New Deal resolution, a legislative framework that aims for renewables accounting for 100% of U.S. energy within 10 years, through a  “new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II.” Skeptics – even those who support robust effort to fight climate change – have questioned the practicality of the plan, which would entail increasing renewables’ share of U.S. energy by a factor of almost 10 over the next 10 years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appeared to have a lukewarm response to the Green New Deal plan from Ocasio-Cortez and Markey, referring to it as the “green dream or whatever they call it.”

Speaker Pelosi Announced Thursday Lawmakers Who Will Serve On The New House Select Committee On The Climate Crisis.

Speaker Pelosi appointed a mixture of veteran and freshmen lawmakers to serve on the committee. Pelosi commented on the issue of climate change, which has become an integral part of the Democratic legislative agenda, in an interview on Wednesday. Pelosi told reporters, “I want everybody to be in on the act because this is deadly serious,” Politico reports. The new House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is led by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), and includes representatives such as Reps. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Mike Levin (D-CA) and Joe Neguse (D-CO), among others. The new select committee will join the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the climate change discussion; both are set to discuss rising global temperatures in their respective committees this week. The House Energy and Commerce committee is chaired by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY).

Many State Governments Are Taking The Lead In Aiming To Reduce Carbon Emissions.

According to US News and World Report, numerous states have enacted measures to cut down on their carbon footprint. Massachusetts is aiming to reduce greenhouse emissions statewide  80% by 2050. New Jersey has set the goal of half the electricity in New Jersey coming from renewable energy sources by 2030. Some states, like North Carolina, are placing precedence on the vehicle industry: N.C. has pledged to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles statewide to 80,000 in the upcoming years, and Colorado has begun its initiative to provide a $5,000 tax credit for passenger electric vehicle owners. Other states with continued efforts to combat climate change include Louisiana, California, New York, and more.


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