Cantwell, Murray, Colleagues Introduce Senate Resolution Endorsing Findings of Recent Climate Change Reports & Urging Immediate Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) joined 23 of their colleagues to introduce 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 impacts of climate change are real and are already being felt in communities across the country,” Senator Cantwell said. “Extreme weather events are growing more frequent, putting our homes and livelihoods at risk. Our regional economies that depend on agriculture, tourism, and fisheries are all vulnerable.”

“President Trump may refuse to accept the devastating reality of climate change, but it can’t stop the rest of us from shining a bright spotlight on the facts and continuing to fight for action,” Senator Murray said. “For us in the Pacific Northwest, this is personal. Climate change is already starting to wreak havoc on our environment and our economy, from longer, more devastating wildfires and smoke-filled skies, to diminishing salmon runs, ocean acidification, and changing growing seasons. While it’s extremely frustrating that President Trump and his allies twist and dismiss the facts in order to suit their agenda, the rest of us who believe in science and share concern for future generations must continue sounding the alarm and pushing for meaningful efforts to combat climate change.”

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. It determined that the difference between warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius is substantial and found that 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 finding, 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, the Earth will warm by 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2040;
  • 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;
  • If warming reaches 2 degrees Celsius or above, 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 cause 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.

The Senate resolution is cosponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tom Udall (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

A copy of the full resolution can be found here.