Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Congressional Climate Investigation Goes To Greenland & Europe

May 26-28: Representative Edward Markey (D-MA), Chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming is joining House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other members of the Select Committee on an international fact-finding mission on global warming impacts and solutions over the Memorial Day weekend and this week. The bipartisan delegation arrived in Greenland on Saturday, May 26, continuing on to Germany, Great Britain and Belgium to meet with leading scientists and political leaders working on solutions to combat global warming. In Greenland the delegation met with Dr. Konrad Steffen, who is the lead scientist at Swiss Camp located on the Jakobshavn Glacier. In Europe, the delegation was to meet with Chancellor Merkel, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, foreign and environmental ministers, members of parliament and leading environmentalists and scientists.

In a release, Markey said that reports had surfaced that the U.S. delegation to the Group of Eight Nations (G-8) has rejected a climate proposal from G-8 head and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that calls for limiting the worldwide temperature increase this century to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit and cutting global warming emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 [See WIMS 5/18/07]. Markey indicated that the congressional delegation will meet with Chancellor Merkel.

Speaker Pelosi said, “Scientific evidence and real-world examples tell us that global warming is an international crisis that must be solved with international cooperation and innovative solutions. As we begin to craft legislative solutions to address this international crisis, Members of Congress will see firsthand the economic and environmental impact of global warming, as well as the actions our allies are already taking to address this global challenge.”

Earlier this year, the Speaker called for legislation to curb global warming and created the Select Committee Energy Independence and Global Warming. She said Congress is drafting wide-ranging legislation on energy independence by July 4 and global warming later this year.

Along with Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Markey, the delegation includes Select Committee members Hilda Solis (D-CA), Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin(D-SD), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John Larson (D-CT), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO). David Hobson (R-OH), Ranking member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee is also traveling with the group. According to the release, the air travel was to be carbon "offset" through the Pacific Forest Trust - a forest conservation and stewardship project that will permanently reduce approximately 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions over a 100-year period. Speaker Pelosi will personally pay for this effort.

Access links to several releases on the mission and subsequent posts on further developments (
click here). Access the Speaker's Blog for daily posts of the trip (click here). Access a release from Speaker Pelosi (click here). [*Climate]