Ranking Member Bonamici Opening Statement for Climate Science Hearing

Mar 29, 2017

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is holding a hearing titled, “Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method.”

Ranking Member of the Environment Subcommittee, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici’s (D-OR), opening statement for the record is below.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

It is truly preposterous that the Science Committee is holding this hearing today to undermine science and the scientific process. Unfortunately, we are spending valuable time trying to discredit science when we should be looking for ways to advance scientific research.

Climate change is not a partisan issue. People who fish in Oregon, farmers in Oklahoma, servicemen and women in Norfolk, Virginia, are all living with the results climate change - regardless of their political affiliation. The economic, human health, and environmental consequences of climate change are well known, and our understanding about how to address the causes of climate change continues to improve. At a time when people in the United States and around the world are facing threats from rising sea levels, oceans that are becoming more acidic, more frequent and severe weather events, record droughts and flooding, and rising global temperatures, it is critical that we support scientific research about climate, and that we build on rather than break down decades worth of progress on this issue.

Fortunately, seventeen of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have introduced legislation with a commitment to address climate change.

The Science Committee should be return to being a forum for robust discussions about our nation’s scientific priorities, celebration of our scientific achievements, and development of bipartisan legislation that improves our understanding of science. These efforts helped to fuel our economy and created new jobs and new industries. Let’s return to that Science Committee, rather than one where science is attacked and there is little appetite for bipartisan work that benefits the millions of American people who are concerned that increased emissions threaten our country and our planet.

This hearing is going to follow a familiar pattern, with familiar faces offering fringe perspectives. We have heard from the three Majority witnesses in the past. Based on the testimony they’ve submitted, their positions on this issue have not changed.

Science is not about trust or belief. Science is about knowledge and understanding. Scientists put their research and findings through rigorous peer-review, and constantly seek to improve our understanding of the world through the scientific process. Trust is not a factor. Characterizing well-understood science as a simple trust exercise undermines the general principle of scientific integrity.

There is a difference between a political position that denies the reality of climate change and scientific fact that climate change is real. Too often there is confusion about those distinctions in this room. We should focus on solutions to the climate change problem not distractions from this reality.

I look forward to hearing from Dr. Michael Mann today, a distinguished climate scientist who has been at the forefront of the international scientific community’s efforts to examine, understand and respond to global warming and the consequences it has brought to our planet.

And I hope that the day comes soon when we can talk about and work on solutions to climate change.

Thank you and I yield back.