Quigley Joins Local Environmental Experts for Climate Resiliency Panel Discussion at Shedd Aquarium
CHICAGO – On, February 2, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC), joined local climate leaders and environmental experts for a panel discussion on the causes, consequences, and solutions for climate change. The event, which was held at Shedd Aquarium, can be found in its entirety via livestream at Facebook.com/RepMikeQuigley. All photos below, and others available upon request, are courtesy of ©Shedd Aquarium/Eva Ho.
“Climate change is an economy-wide, society-wide, ecosystem-wide, world-wide problem and it’s going to need businesses, cities, states, countries, and every citizen and consumer to push in the same direction to find solutions that work,” said Rep. Quigley. “For the last two years, we have been saddled with a federal government in this country that not only refused to take any meaningful action to address climate change, but actively denied the problem even exists. We cannot afford another year like those we’ve seen, which makes every action we can take, no matter how big the impact, imperative. With a new Democratic majority in the House, we will get to work on smart, innovative policy that tackles the challenge of climate change head on.”
“Climate change is with us now—it's not a problem down the road. It's costing money and lives and instigating social upheaval. Business as usual can't continue, [which is why] we must take measures to slow the process of warming and bolster our coastlines against stronger storms and it's going to take a commitment by our government and fellow citizens--and all the countries of the world to support efforts to slow climate change's impacts,” said WGN’s chief meteorologist, Tom Skilling. “There are jobs—lots of them—to be created in this effort. Good jobs for Americans [that] can’t be exported and would provide us a cleaner environment with a supply of energy from, renewable sources…We can tackle this subject if we put our minds and American ingenuity to work doing so!”
“Despite the Trump Administration foolishly turning its back on the Paris Agreement, over 3000 U.S. cities, states and businesses have stepped up to the plate. In Illinois, Governor Pritzker just joined the Climate Alliance committing the State of Illinois to do its part while Chicago recently won the Bloomberg American Cities Challenge becoming one of 25 cities recognized for its ambitious climate action plan. And, Illinois based companies like McDonalds, Boeing, and Exelon have all pledged to reduce their carbon footprints. Through these pledges and efforts, the U.S. is already almost halfway to meeting its commitment of a 26 to 28% emission reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 2005 levels by 2025,” said Mary Gade, President of of the Gade Environmental Group. “But, as the just released Annual Energy Outlook Report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration alerted us, greenhouse gas emissions spiked last year for the first time in four years to levels as high as those in 2010. Clearly, this issue requires not only individual action but also concerted national action and legislation by Congress. That’s why I applaud the Shedd Aquarium for hosting this forum and Congressman Quigley for bringing greater attention to the issue and educating constituents while seeking solutions. It’s the only way we are going to protect human health and our planet from the greatest existential threat of our time.
“The science is clear: climate change is one of the most important issues facing humanity and our planet. There is basically no debate about this conclusion any longer within the science community; this understanding is data-driven, based on extensive observations and associated analyses using many different research tools,” said Dr. Don Wuebbles, the Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois. “These analyses are continually evaluated by the science community and reported through the variety of international and national assessments of climate science, internationally by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and nationally, the U.S. National Climate Assessments required by Congress. In both cases, every four to six years, top experts assess the state of the science. That doesn’t keep misinformation and overstatement of remaining uncertainties from appearing in the media, but to do so requires distortions and misrepresentations of the science, or denials of the underlying premises for basic physics… There is broad scientific consensus that the further and the faster the Earth system is pushed towards warming, the greater the risk of unanticipated changes and impacts on our lives.
“Our changing climate is the greatest threat to biodiversity in many regions, including fresh water and the ocean. Shifts in air and water temperatures and surges in catastrophic weather events can lead to geographical redistribution of plants and wildlife, disruptions of seasonal migrations, flooding, coastal damage and decreases in ecosystem function. In our oceans, coral reef ecosystems are being devastated by warming waters as a result of climate change,” said Dr. Ross Cunning, research biologist at Shedd Aquarium. “Coral reefs are home to more than 1 million aquatic species, they protect our coastlines and they provide food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people. And yet, in the last 30 years, we’ve lost 50 percent of our ocean’s corals to climate change. As our team at Shedd Aquarium works toward science-based solutions to boost the heat tolerance and climate-resilience of corals, we also must work together – as institutions, governments and individuals – to stop climate change. Every choice matters and every action makes a difference.”
Environmental protection is one of Rep. Quigley’s top legislative priorities. Most recently, he was named a Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, co-sponsored the Climate Change Education Act and the Clean and Efficient Cars Act of 2018, and introduced a House resolution outlining key findings of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) report on the impacts of a warming world and reaffirming the House’s recognition and acceptance of these findings.