In the past month, the House Minority Leader called the idea that carbon dioxide - a greenhouse gas and known carcinogen - is dangerous "almost comical," and members of his party suggested that the planet is actually cooling and "carbon-starved" and invited a global warming denier as a public witness to a Congressional hearing on the topic.
As anyone with experience with recovery knows, the first step in addressing a crisis is to admit that you have a problem. Unfortunately, these displays and others make it increasingly clear that, despite conclusive scientific evidence on the existence of global warming and the human role, some elected officials refuse to take Step 1.
As Congress begins the process of legislating to protect humans and ecosystems from the effects of global warming, I believe we need a "temperature check."
Today - Earth Day - I introduced a resolution that says three very simple things critical to a constructive dialogue on global warming:
(1) The Earth is warming;
(2) Human activity plays large role in that warming;
(3) Congress can mitigate the risks through legislation.
The first two - recognizing the existence of global warming and the role of human activity - are not controversial. They have been proven by countless scientific and peer-reviewed studies and accepted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Academies of Sciences, and numerous scientific organizations.
Accepting the third premise acknowledges that we can and must do something about it.
On an issue so vital to the sustainability of our planet, we cannot afford for those who are unwilling to take Step 1 based on political ideology to stall progress on addressing global climate change. This resolution will be a good indication of who is willing to admit we have a problem.