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Congressman Peter DeFazio

Representing the 4th District of OREGON

Climate Change

The science is clear that global warming is happening and that it is caused by human activity. It is long past time for Congress to get serious about climate change, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and other fossil fuels, and to create jobs by creating a new energy economy.

The overwhelming evidence points to a coming climate crisis. In October 2018, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report warning against the impact of rising global temperatures and the serious effects on weather, sea levels, agriculture and natural eco-systems. 

In 2013, scientists from Oregon State University joined with their colleagues from Harvard University and published a study in the journal Science that provides new context to today’s climate and rising temperatures. The report reconstructs a temperature history for the last 11,300 years and concludes that rising temperatures over the last century have been greater than the temperature increases over the previous 100 centuries...combined.

Fighting Climate Change Deniers

Unfortunately, a significant number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as President Trump, deny climate change is happening and remain adamant that reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) is not only unnecessary, but part of a grand conspiracy orchestrated by the federal government. These ideological positions, which do not represent the views of a majority of Americans or climate scientists, have made the current Congress a difficult environment for crafting a smart, 21st-Century American energy policy. 

Rep. DeFazio will continue to fight the Trump administration's efforts to weaken our nation's most important environmental and public health laws. 

Curbing Carbon Emissions

In 2008, greedy Wall Street bankers, hedge funds, and speculators nearly destroyed the U.S. economy by betting against the housing market and gambling with workers’ retirement savings.  But instead of learning a lesson about the dangers of unregulated financial markets, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a “market-based” approach to reduce GHG emissions called a cap-and-trade program in 2009. 

In theory, cap-and-trade would set pollution limits (the “cap”) and distribute pollution allowances to industry that can be bought and sold in a market to meet emission targets (the “trade”). DeFazio voted against cap-and-trade, arguing that creating a new, complex, speculative, multi-trillion dollar financial market for Wall Street – which has no interest in reducing pollution – was an unwise and potentially disastrous decision.

When the Willamette River was an open sewer and the Cuyahoga River caught fire in the 1960s, Congress did not respond by giving polluters “credits” to trade and profit from in a speculative market.  Instead, Congress passed strong regulations through the Clean Water Act that require an inventory of water pollution and an issuance of permits that forced polluters to clean up or pay up.  That same tried and tested approach should be used to reduce GHG emissions.  

The Supreme Court already clarified that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to crack down on GHG pollution through the Clean Air Act.  We have been doing this for decades with other air pollutants and everyone agrees it has been phenomenally successful.  

DeFazio believes if we truly want to cut carbon emissions, Congress should implement predictable regulations. This regulatory approach is far superior to implementing a carbon trading scheme that is rife with manipulation, fraud and marketplace boom-and-bust cycles.

More on Climate Change

Feb 19, 2019 Blog Post

Let’s consider some real news, for a change: Last year was officially proclaimed the fourth-warmest on record; scientists predict that melting ice in Antarctica and 

Feb 19, 2019 Blog Post

The age of climate panic is here. Last summer, a heat wave baked the entire Northern Hemisphere, killing dozens from Quebec to Japan. Some of the most destructive wildfires in California history turned more than a million acres to ash, along the way melting the tires and the sneakers of those trying to escape the flames.

Dec 14, 2018 Blog Post

Incoming House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) told reporters on Friday he was on board with a plan to establish a select committee tasked with working on solutions to combat climate change.

"I have no concerns about it," he said. "This is the existential threat to the future of the planet. I don't think we can have too many members actively involved."

Dec 11, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. -- Today, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment Grace Napolitano (D-CA) released the following statements after the Trump administration released a proposal to significantly limit which of our Nation’s waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act.

May 6, 2015 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – A group of House and Senate lawmakers today asked the Interior Department to limit the unnecessary releases of natural gas from oil and gas wells on public lands in light of a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finding that federal officials have not improved natural gas capture standards despite two previous reports urging reforms.