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By JUSTINE MCDANIEL
WASHINGTON (Jan. 14, 2014) -- Progress on climate change can be made in this Congress and workable solutions for reducing greenhouse gases and other factors in global warming exist, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin said Tuesday at a press conference for the newly formed Senate Climate Action Task Force.
Led by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the Democratic senators, plus one independent, vowed to “wake up Congress” to the dangers of climate change through speeches, press conferences and legislative action in the coming weeks.
“Water level rises are increasing. Representing a coastal state like Maryland, we see that. We see the impact of that,” Cardin said.
Over the last 100 years, the Chesapeake Bay has risen more than a foot, and it could rise up to 5 feet more by the end of the next century.
If the Bay’s levels rise another 5 feet, approximately 3,700 miles of state and county roads will be under water, according to a 2013 Capital News Service analysis.
While thanking the Obama administration for progress made over the last five years, Cardin said the task force will encourage the administration to take more action. It also seeks to “block the negative activities that come particularly from the House of Representatives,” he said.
A number of Republicans in the House and Senate do not support the effort to combat climate change.
Last week, in a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., cited record-breaking cold weather and snowstorms that coincided with global warming-related speeches and events over the past 10 years as evidence against climate change.
“While there’s been a concerted effort of people to believe that global warming is taking place, that we’re all going to die and all of that, at the same time the evidence out there is... almost laughable,” he said.
Cardin was joined by Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and others who also talked about the effect of global warming in their home states.
“Congress may not know what’s going on, but the Maine lobsters know what’s going on, because they’re moving north,” King said. “The Maine lobstermen are about as conservative a bunch of people as you can find on this planet, but they know something’s changing out there. They’re finding seahorses in their lobster traps.”
Many senators offered both anecdotal and scientific evidence, saying that those opposed to climate change deny science. They spoke of the need to protect the planet for future generations and address the problems that are already arising as a result of global warming.
“We’re going to fight lies with truth, and we now have the Climate Action Task Force; we are going to be actively engaged to bring these issues to the attention of the American people and our colleagues,” Cardin said.