Speaker Pelosi and Energy and Water Appropriations Committee Ranking Member David Hobson of Ohio, joined by a delegation of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, chaired by Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts, released this statement following their climate change trip to Greenland, Germany, England, and Belgium. The delegation also included Democratic Caucus Vice Chair John Larson of Connecticut; Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon; Congresswoman Hilda Solis of California; Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota; and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri:
The purpose of our visit was to see firsthand the adverse environmental and economic impacts of global warming and to meet with foreign leaders who are taking action to address one of the greatest challenges of our time. The science is undeniable — as is the urgency with which we must act.
During our trip to Greenland last weekend, we witnessed the effect of global warming on the ice sheets and the economic impact on the Inuit people. Greenland Premier Hans Enoksen, national and local leaders, and residents all stressed that changes to their environment are rapid and far reaching. Fishing and hunting and the tourism attracted by dog sledding have all been adversely affected by the warming climate.
“Renowned climate scientists Dr. Konrad Steffen, Dr. Jay Zwally, and Dr. Jose Rial are studying the accelerating melting and movement of the Artic ice. Scientists are working rapidly to analyze the dramatic changes to the Greenland ice cap — the amount of ice breaking off in two days is enough fresh water for New York City for one full year.
“We were pleased to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had invited us to Germany to discuss this critical issue. We appreciate Chancellor Merkel's strong leadership in rallying European Union countries to commit to an aggressive strategy to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and lay the groundwork for a strong climate regime.
“With German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, we discussed the connection between energy policy and security. Unless steps are taken to reverse climate change, which is causing basic resources to diminish, disputes may escalate into broader conflicts as drought conditions expand.
“Environmental Minister Sigmar Gabriel informed us of the innovative policies Germany is instituting to promote renewable energy, improve efficiency, and reduce greenhouse emissions.
“On Memorial Day, we were honored to participate in a ceremony at the Allied Museum in Berlin with American Ambassador William Timken, U.S Marines and veterans to salute our nation's fallen heroes.
“In London, we met with Members of Parliament representing the Labor, Conservative, and Liberal Democrats parties, Environment Minister David Milliband, and senior British government officials. They all underscored the consensus in the United Kingdom across the political spectrum in favor of strong steps to reverse global warming. The United Kingdom is in the lead with ground-breaking climate change legislation expected to be adopted next year.
“We were also briefed by Sir Nicholas Stern, author of the influential Stern Report, a study quantifying the high economic costs of failure to reverse climate change. His monumental report confirms the enormous economic advantage of acting now, rather than continuing a policy of inaction.
European Union — Belgium
“Our discussion with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso identified a great deal of common ground and areas of agreement that can be reached between the United States and European nations to reverse climate change. President Barroso reiterated the European Union's position that urgent action is necessary. We hope that the G-8 Summit next week will pave the way forward to a global solution to climate change and that the U.S. will be part of that progress.
“During our meeting with European Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs, he emphasized the European Union's long-term energy and climate change goals, which include increasing energy efficiency, commercializing carbon capture and sequestration technologies, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
“The delegation met with the Prime Minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, who discussed the commitment of his country to the new goals for energy set by the European Union. He also discussed Belgium's progress in encouraging the increased use of wind and solar energy and the importance of combined research with the U.S. on key technology of carbon capture and storage for coal-based electricity.
“While in Brussels, we met with the Secretary General of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. The emphasis of the meeting was on NATO operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and the further deployment of missile defense system in Europe and other issues of concern to our national security.”