Dec 07 2018
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on the Senate floor to discuss climate change and the effect it’s having on their states.
High-resolution video excerpts from Senator Feinstein’s remarks are available here. Text of the corresponding excerpts follow:
“Now as this chart shows, and this is sea level rise at the Golden Gate Bridge, the sea has risen 9 inches in that time, which the National Climate Assessment attributes mostly to thermal expansion of ocean water and the melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets. This is already threatening San Francisco’s historic waterfront. The sea-wall is seriously deteriorating and must be upgraded to handle the stronger storms and higher tides we’re already seeing and will continue to see in the future.”
“Antarctica holds 90 percent of the world’s ice, and the rate of ice melting and calving increased six-fold from 1994 to 2012. A six-time increase in ten years. It’s amazing. According to an eye-opening report from National Geographic last year, if the West Antarctic ice sheet collapses, as some researchers think may already be happening, it will eventually raise sea levels worldwide by 10 feet.”
“But rising sea levels are far from the only problem. Wildfire and drought are already reshaping my state.
“The California drought from 2011 to 2016 was made worse because of climate change. Higher temperatures depleted groundwater and reduced the snowpack. Large parts of California, including the Central Valley which produces the majority of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, had to depend on groundwater pumping that will not always be available.
“The National Climate Assessment warns that global warming will reduce the rate that groundwater replenishes aquifers by 10 to 20 percent, so we have a real problem.”
“We really have to come to terms with it. This new big fire, which is the largest fire California has ever had burned down 15,000 homes, if you can believe it. This is a picture of what the area looks like. Wildfire alone has burned nearly 2 million acres now, as I said 15,000 homes, it’s killed 94 people and wildfire is the deadliest and most destructive season we have on record, this year.”
“The state has mandated that 50 percent of its electricity must be from renewable sources by 2030, so we’re actually ahead of schedule and on track to reach that deadline by 2020, so if we do we’ll both be here and I hope that will be a real signal to people that standards can be set, and they can be met, and we can save this planet.”