Democrats in control of the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced set a date for the chamber’s first hearing on global warming in six years.
The hearing is scheduled for next week, February 6, after the coldest weather in decades for many parts of the U.S. is forecast to subside. A “polar vortex” event brought record-cold to the Midwest and Great Plains, forcing factories to close, straining energy systems and leaving at least 11 dead.
Meteorologists forecast a rapid thaw in the coming days with temperatures rising 80 degrees Fahrenheit in Illinois and other areas. Washington, D.C. is expected to see temperatures in the 50s when the climate hearing is scheduled.
Democrats want to make tackling global warming a central part of their 2019 agenda, and top committee chairs plan a series of hearings on the matter. House energy and commerce Democrats will be the first to take up the climate crusade this year.
“Year after year, politicians have ignored this threat and denied the science. We can’t afford to let them stand in the way any longer,” Rep. Paul Tonko, a subcommittee chair who will head the hearing, said in a video statement released Wednesday night.
— Paul Tonko ⚫️ (@RepPaulTonko) January 31, 2019
The hearing would focus on the “cost of inaction on climate pollution” and “how a just transition to a clean energy economy” would help the economy and environment, Tonko said.
“We are committed to taking action.” Tonko said. “We believe the science, we understand the urgency and we are committed to getting results.”
What also remains to be seen is if House Democrats take up calls for a “Green New Deal” being pushed by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and several 2020 hopefuls. Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey are set to unveil “Green New Deal” legislation as soon as next week.
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