National Commentary

Congressman Beyer’s News Commentary: The Threat of Climate Change

beyer-onlinemugYou know the headlines on climate change: Last year was the hottest year ever recorded. Since 2001, we have experienced fifteen of the 16 warmest years on record.

Each of the past 12 months was the hottest on record. The sea level is rising, wild storms are more frequent, and the warnings seem more ominous each month.

We know we face a potentially cataclysmic threat from climate change. And that we must adapt, innovate, and be disciplined to turn it around. We will. But it will be a step forward, then a step or two backward, for the foreseeable future. The morning news brings hopeful news of renewable energy, and the next day a new study gives us the next dire chapter in the devolution of the planet.

I have vowed to do what I can in the House of Representatives to work for change. One important part of this is my work with Rep. Chris Van Hollen on his legislation to put a cap on carbon emissions, sell the permits for those emissions, and return the dividends to everyone with a valid Social Security number. The bill is unlikely to pass this Congress or next, but we lay the groundwork and we continue to push for progress against a hostile Congress. A step forward.

As part of our push forward, I hope to continue the conversation we began at last fall’s forum on climate change. With experts from various fields, we heard of the health effects of climate change, of political activism in the face of it, and of the science and government regulation around it.

Every week this year, I am sending an email titled “Just the Facts” in this vein – 14 so far. Some weeks we will note a recent academic paper or news item signaling the darker scenarios – for example, that Miami’s daily high water is nearly an inch higher every year – and other weeks the encouraging pillars, such as the U.S. government’s intention to make wind power one-third of all American electricity by 2050.

Please feel free to join the conversation by sending an email or a letter via my website at or to my Facebook at, and please highlight these efforts to those you believe might opt in to receiving it.

I look forward to moving the conversation – and the solutions – forward.