Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District and a member of the Safe Climate Caucus spoke on the House floor Friday about the increasing costs of climate change and the need to take action. The Safe Climate Caucus is a group of Democratic members who are highlighting the need for action on climate change through daily floor speeches and other activities.
“Mr. Speaker, as fires across the West grow more intense and super storms in the United States do more damage, it is clear that the cost of inaction on climate change is growing. The economic toll that it is taking on communities across the country is impacting the American people.
“Hurricane Sandy cost the United States $70 billion in damages, many lives, and lost economic output. In my home state of New Mexico, where wildfires have burned all summer, many communities that rely on tourism and access to our majestic lands have seen their businesses negatively impacted. Farmers and ranchers in New Mexico have had to sell off their herds because of drought conditions that have made it too expensive to feed their animals.
“Opponents of efforts to address climate change and to transition to cleaner fuels and renewable energy often site the cost of these efforts. What they fail to account for is the increasing cost that global warming is having in the form of more severe droughts, more dangerous wildfire seasons, and increased devastation from super storms.
“Mr. Speaker, if we continue down this path and fail to take steps necessary to address climate change the costs will only continue to grow and the impact on our communities will only increase.
“Last week, I joined my colleagues in the Safe Climate Caucus in sending a letter to Speaker Boehner asking him to schedule a debate on the House floor to discuss climate change and our nation’s response to this growing threat. The time for action is now. We must not sit idly by and ignore the facts and ignore the science while communities in New Mexico and across the country experience the negative impacts of climate change.”