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What a Democratic House must do

EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON | 11/18/2018, 6:05 p.m.
In the next Congress that convenes in January, it is my intention to seek the chairmanship of the Committee on ...
eddie bernice johnson

U.S. House of Representatives

In the next Congress that convenes in January, it is my intention to seek the chairmanship of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, a panel on which I now sit as its ranking member.

Known as the “committee of the future,” the science committee is crucial to a number of issues that affect our nation, chief among them is ensuring that our country remains the world’s principal scientific innovator – that we continue to promote prudent and effective STEM education solutions, and that we respect and consider our country’s esteemed scientific communities.

In the last decade, if not longer, the overwhelming majority of America’s highly regarded scientists have warned the executive branch and the Congress about the dangers that we face as a nation if we do not address the issue of a changing climate.

The Republican majority in the House has ignored the opinions of these scientists while our climate has worsened, with unthinkable weather events, including raging fires, coastal erosion and deadly hurricanes.

Over the years, I have read and studied the research presented by distinguished members of our science communities in North Texas and throughout the country. The Congress and the executive branch must begin to listen to these men and women who have devoted their lives to academia, and who have pleaded with us to take action before it is too late.

We must begin to work with them to confront the daunting challenges that we face.

I am willing and able to work with members of the Democratic majority in the House and our Republican colleagues to create sensible legislation and policies that will address the issue of fossil fuels that experts say is contributing to a warming climate.

It is neither a Democratic issue nor a Republican issue. It is an American issue.

We cannot afford to be silent in the face of a United Nations science report, which recently concluded that placing a price on carbon dioxide emissions, a leading cause of adverse changes in the world’s climate, was crucial to curbing the impact that a warming climate has on communities, countries, agriculture and people.

The report stated that the number of poor people in the world will increase because of increased food shortages. There will be more wildfires like those in California, additional storms like those that devastated South Texas, and we will witness the death of the world’s coral reefs within the next 25 years if business leaders and governments do not move quickly to address climate change.

Even 40 years of research by a professor who was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for science has failed to get the Congress to act.

“We are actually going backward in the United States with disastrous policies,” said Professor William D. Nordhaus, an economist at Yale University, who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences. “We are gambling with the future of our planet,” he said.

Now, with a Democratic majority in the House and with a science committee chaired by someone who actually believes is science, I know that we can do something about our changing climate.

In the last election, the American people gave the Democratic Party a mandate to act, and act we must!

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas. She is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.