During his farewell speech Tuesday, outgoing House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA) listed climate change as a top problem facing the country — a rare moment when a Republican leader in office openly acknowledged the need for climate action.
Taking to the House floor, Dreier said climate change “is a fact of life” that must be confronted, and said it should be an imperative on par with the economy and gun control for his party:
DREIER: Now, Mr. Speaker, we know it’s far from perfect, but I hope that this bipartisan agreement can lay the foundation for continued work to address the tremendous challenges that we face as a Nation. Millions of Americans are out of work. The national debt as a percentage of gross domestic product is too high. Upheaval exists in nearly every region across the globe. Education and immigration reform must happen. The potential for a crippling cyberattack continues to be a threat. Climate change is a fact of life. And most recently, Mr. Speaker, our families are reeling from the tragedy of Newtown.
Though Dreier has had a poor voting record on climate issues, his congressional climate denier colleagues often still need reminder of the basic science.
President Obama also mentioned climate change on Tuesday in the context of the fiscal cliff. During remarks on the last-minute deal, Obama named his administration’s next priorities, which included “protecting our planet from the harmful effects of climate change.”