WASHINGTON – Following the release of the U.S National Climate Assessment, which highlighted the Midwest region’s “agricultural lands, forests, Great Lakes, industrial activities, and cities” as especially vulnerable to climate change, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin called for immediate action in response to climate variability and better preparedness for extreme weather events. More information on the U.S National Climate Assessment – and its findings relevant to Illinois – is available here.
“In Congress, we spend a lot of time debating how our actions will affect future generations and the obligations we have to leave our children and grandchildren a better world. Nowhere is that more apparent than when it comes to the issue of climate change. In Illinois, we have experienced a growing number of extreme weather events – from low water levels on the Mississippi River to flooding in the Chicago suburbs – and seen their impact on our communities,” Durbin said. “The existence of man-made climate change is not a debatable issue, nor is it a vague or distant threat. It is a situation that requires serious attention immediately.”
In 2011, Durbin chaired a hearing of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee to examine the federal government’s preparedness for the economic impact of weather events which are growing in frequency and severity. Traditionally, disaster relief funding has been largely unplanned for – being provided only on an as-need basis rather than through the regular annual funding cycle. Following the hearing, Durbin argued that the federal government should follow the lead of the private sector and begin to focus strategically on the long-term budgetary impacts of increasingly severe weather events. More information on that hearing, including witness testimony, is available here.