Hoyer: Climate Change is a Now Problem, Not a Future Problem

For Immediate Release:

May 21, 2014


Mariel Saez, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined members of the House and Senate at a rally this afternoon urging Congress to take action on climate change. Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“Fired up? What we don’t want is our globe fired up. We want to be fired up so that it will not be fired up. [Senator] Ed Markey and I were just talking [about] 1970. Remember what happened in 1970? We had an Earth Day, the first Earth Day. On that day we focused on making sure that mankind treated the extraordinary assets that it had been given – the land, the water, and the air we know [with respect]. As Jerry Brown said in 1976, 'that small spaceship Earth,' whose environment is fragile. God has given us the responsibility to keep it intact. So we need to be fired up so that the world is not fired up. We’ve seen it on the West Coast, we’ve seen it in the Midwest, and we’ve seen it on the Atlantic Coast in Rhode Island and in Maryland.

“Earlier this month, as you know, we received the most comprehensive review of climate change's dangerous effects to date. The National Climate Assessment determined that climate change is no longer a future problem. It is a now problem. It was a yesterday problem, but it is never too late to do the right thing by our Earth. Families and businesses are feeling the financial and health impacts as well. Senator Boxer showed that picture. Asthma. I have asthma, but when I got asthma there was only a fraction of young people that had asthma. Now it is rampant. Only by addressing climate change in concerted ways, by reducing carbon emissions through more sustainable energy policies and conservation, by helping communities become more resilient, can we slow its effect.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues in both Chambers to address climate change in a responsible way and push Congress to wake up to its responsibilities. Now ladies and gentlemen, I was just a little late getting here. I was a little late getting here because I was at a ceremony in Southeast Washington. A bridge there was renamed earlier today for Ethel Kennedy, a bridge that goes across the Anacostia River. Bobby Kennedy, her son, spoke [at the ceremony], the Riverkeeper. When you go down the Anacostia River, you will at times think you’re in a wild and scenic river, but for some stark facts. You’ll see tires, refrigerators, diapers, other refuse thrown into that river by us. That river is suffering because of us. We are in this room today to commit ourselves that we shall not further our neglect that deteriorates our environment and our climate.”