For the first time in more than eight years, members of the House Committee on Natural Resources came together to formally discuss the impacts of climate change. What’s interesting is that, even though members of the committee were divided when it came to topics like energy production, most could agree on the need to do a better job at preparing their communities when it comes to handling extreme weather events and natural disasters. I say this is interesting because many believe that climate change doesn’t have an impact on things like the weather, but the truth is, it does. So it’s very interesting to see groups who might not publicly support these theories, at least doing so in this committee setting.
The key takeaway from that, though, isn’t to say that these folks now believe there is a problem with climate change. In fact, what they are saying is that they believe that they need to be better prepared to handle these natural disasters when they occur. To me, that’s a reactive stance, rather than being proactive about what’s really going on.
Many of those in attendance for the meeting were clear that climate change isn’t something that leaders can waste time debating anymore. The problem requires immediate attention. So saying that we need more supports in place to help communities after the fact is all fine and well, but decision makers need to also put supports in place to help minimize the impact. Wouldn’t you rather prevent something than have to cure it? I mean, let’s think of it like cancer. Wouldn’t you rather live a life where you are doing as much as you can to prevent cancer from happening? Rather than getting it and being able to beat it? Both are incredibly horrific storms to weather (no pun intended), and there’s something great about resiliency. But let’s attempt to minimize that, while at the same time making the community resilient.
During the meeting, there was a lot of criticism around the Green New Deal, which, is in the process of being proposed. The idea is supposed to help transition the U.S. to a green energy economy with equity in mind. When I read those words, I’m not convinced that Republicans will support it. And further to that, I’m not sure that America is ready for that. We certainly should be ready for it, but that doesn’t mean that we are. In fact, Republicans used this first meeting to delegitimize the proposal. A draft version of the proposal reportedly includes mention of achieving 100% clean power, but it doesn’t explicitly call for a ban on fossil fuels.
The other meeting that was held this week was the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which also hadn’t taken place in six years. All of this means that more credence is being given to the fact that climate change is a real thing. But it is also a signal to who is in the House, and what issues we can see coming forward as priorities for House Democrats. Whether or not things will change and progress, remains to be seen, but it’s a move in the right direction at least.