November 29, 2018

Following National Climate Assessment, Cardin and Van Hollen Join Senate Resolution Endorsing Findings of Recent Climate Change Reports & Urging Immediate Action

25 senators sign resolution backing IPCC report and National Climate Assessment on the consequences of climate change

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have joined a Senate resolution outlining key findings of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and last week’s National Climate Assessment. The resolution affirms the signing members’ recognition and acceptance of these findings, and calls for bold action to combat climate change. The senators were joined on the resolution by 23 of their Senate colleagues.

Notably, the IPCC report found that the Northeast Region of the United States – which includes Maryland – will see the largest temperature increase in the country, and the warming will occur here as much as two decades before global average temperatures reach such a similar milestone. In terms of Maryland’s crown jewel — the Chesapeake Bay — the report finds that the Bay will experience stronger and more frequent storms, an increase in precipitation events, an increase in Bay water temperatures, and a rise in sea level.

“The Trump Administration wants to bury this new report because it doesn’t align with the president’s completely unhinged claim that climate change is a ‘hoax.’ Unfortunately for them, ignoring facts never succeeds in making them any less true,” said Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “The consequences of our inaction on climate change can be found everywhere, from the record-breaking wildfires in California to the repeated, historic flooding in Ellicott City. This report highlights how these and other climate consequences will have an increasingly catastrophic effect on our economy – unless we act now.”

“The Trump Administration’s most recent report confirms the drastic costs of climate change, many of which we’re seeing already in lives lost and property destroyed. But as these costs mount and we continue our calls for action, the President does everything he can to deny and conceal the facts. Congress must fight back. I will continue working at the federal level to move forward on policies that address climate change, including my proposal to create a carbon cap and dividend program that would reduce carbon and put money back in the pocket of every single American. It’s past time that we take meaningful action on climate change,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. 

On Oct. 8, the IPCC released a report outlining the consequences of rising global temperatures and the ways in which climate chaos will become substantially worse as the planet continues to experience pre-industrial levels of warming. The report showed that the difference between warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius is substantial, and limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is affordable, feasible, and necessary to protect people from the worst impacts of climate change. The report concludes that unless the current path of climate change is slowed, massive impacts—such as limited water supply availability, sea-ice free Arctic summers, mass die-offs of coral reefs, and intense and unprecedented heat waves—will become reality as soon as 2040.

On Friday, the Trump Administration released the National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report from American climate experts throughout the federal government. Despite the Trump Administration’s attempts to bury the report on Black Friday, the report has gained widespread attention for its alarming findings—which include evidence that the U.S. is already feeling the effects of climate change, and conclusions that our nation will suffer thousands of deaths and over $500 billion per year in crop damage, lost labor, and extreme weather damages by 2100.

Specifically, the IPCC report found that:

  • The last 50-year period in the Northern Hemisphere has the warmest average temperature of any 50-year period in 500 years;
  • At current rates of greenhouse gas emissions, by 2040, Earth will warm by 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
  • At a 1.5-degree Celsius temperature rise, the global population exposed to water stress could be 50 percent lower than if the global temperature rises 2 degrees Celsius;
  • At warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius, the world could experience loss of greater than 99 percent of all coral reefs on Earth and mass migration from regions most affected by atmospheric changes.

For U.S.-specific impacts, the National Climate Assessment found that:

  • The U.S. is already experiencing impacts from the changing climate, including threats from rising seas and increased flooding;
  • 2 degrees Celsius or higher warming would cost the U.S. a 15% drop in corn and soybean yields;
  • The U.S. economy will lose over $500 billion annually from lost labor, crop failure, and damages related to extreme weather if we continue on our current course;
  • By 2100, climate change could cost the U.S. up to a tenth of GDP, more than double the losses of the Great Recession.

A similar resolution was introduced in the House last month by U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) and 85 Democratic Members, following the release of the IPCC report.

In addition to Senators Cardin and Van Hollen, the Senate resolution is cosponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

A copy of the full resolution can be found here.

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