House Science Committee Holds Hearing on the Climate Change: “Science to Solutions”

Feb 3, 2020

by ASME.org

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology recently held a hearing entitled, “An Update on the Climate Crisis: From Science to Solutions” to discuss the latest science and technology solutions needed to combat the climate change. Despite many accomplishments to that end—including an increase in Federal funding, newly introduced bills on clean energy, and prolific discussions on how the U.S. can be the global leader in this space—the hearing highlighted the need to do more. Each witness agreed that while the climate situation is urgent, there is still hope that addressing the crisis with current and future technologies is still possible.

The hearing convened five witnesses, experts in different areas of science and climate change. Dr. Pamela McElwee, associate professor at Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, expressed that land technologies can help be a part of the solution. On the other end, Dr. Richard Murray, Deputy Director and Vice President for Research at Wood Hold Oceanographic Institution, emphasized the need to include the ocean in all climate discussions; and Dr. Heidi Steltzer, professor of environment and sustainability and biology at Fort Lewis College, discussed the effects of climate change on the cryosphere.

The topic of resilience planning and the need to position America to fully re-engage climate talks was widely expressed. As a leader in technology development, the U.S. could be doing a lot more on all ends to better adapt and understand the impacts of climate change. Taren Fransen, Senior Fellow in the Global Climate Program at the World Resources Institute, stated, “Congress can help close the emissions gap by passing ambitious legislations to reduce emissions, investing in research and development, and positioning to the U.S. to fully re-engage in the Paris Agreement.”

Another area of concerned expressed by witnesses—specifically Michael Shellenberger, Founder and President of Environmental Progress—was that the “apocalyptic claims” made by scientists, reporters, and politicians have fostered fear and anxiety which have hindered the ability to combat climate change. Productive dialogue on solutions, therefore, must redirect those fears and anxieties. 

For more specifics on this hearing, please see the archived recording and documents at:
https://science.house.gov/hearings/an-update-on-the-climate-crisis-from-science-to-solutions.

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