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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley: Science Tells Us Global Warming is Real

Jul 19, 2012

Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) spoke out on the House floor against Congress' inaction on global warming citing extreme weather and scientific data as proof that the phenomenon is real.

Rep. Mike Quigley: Mister speaker, if anecdotal evidence was science, I'd be standing here proclaiming global warming was real “ just step outside.

It is severely hot. Oppressive. Simply un-enjoyable.

Often, I feel as if I'm standing behind an 18 wheeler, blowing heat and exhaust in my face.

But no, I'm just walking my dogs. In Chicago, no less. 

Chicago!  The city of snow!  Oh yes, snow, the stuff that emboldened those who said that global warming was a farce “  "just think about that snow piled up against your front door they said.

But global warming is part of a larger climate crisis “ climate change

Something the Union of Concerned Scientists say includes events such as: more extreme storms, more severe droughts, deadly heat waves, rising sea levels, and more acidic oceans “ to name a few.

You might have noticed, I'm citing the Union of Concerned Scientists, not the Group-of-Folks-Who-Noticed-Anecdotally-That-The-Weather-Was-Extreme.

It would do us good to heed the words of science, and not the remarks of a few casual observers.

I don't make my case that global warming is real because it's hot. Just as it doesn't follow that global warming isn't real when it's cold. Extreme weather is global warming.

Over 200 peer-reviewed studies have concluded that global warming is real, and potentially catastrophic.

No scientific, peer-reviewed studies have found the opposite. None.

As of July third, 56 percent of the continental United States was experiencing drought conditions " this marks the largest area affected by drought in the 12-year record kept by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Scientists note that temperature records reveal a long-term trend for warming that has been picking up speed.

The first decade of this century was the warmest on record, according to NOAA's State of Climate in 2010 report.

It's real because science tells us so.

We've sustained 1,644 record heat days from January to June of 2012. We've endured 631 days of record rainfall. We've shoveled our way out of 98 days of record snow fall.

The prolonged heat wave this past spring included the hottest March since record-keeping began back in 1895:  671 records were broken, according to the National Weather Service. April marked the end of the warmest 12-month stretch ever in the United States.

So what does all this snow, rain, heat, draught, ocean-acidity and raging forest fires mean?

Scientists say it's global warming.

Scientists say that our warming climate is causing more and more extreme weather events “ and that it can and will get worse, by our inaction.

Several weeks of Snowmageddon, which prompted taunts of Al Gore by members of the Congress, do not disprove scientific fact. 

At the same time, the brutality of today's untenable heat does not solidify my stance any more than the snow disproves Al Gore.

Local temperatures taken as individual data points have nothing to do with the long-term trend of global warming.

To get a real read on global warming, scientists rely on changes in weather over a long period of time. Looking at high and low temperature data from recent decades shows that new record highs occur nearly twice as often as new record lows.

So, no, my belief in global warming isn't sprung from a conversation with my neighbor, nor a straw poll of people I'm sitting with, sweating with, at a Cubs game. My belief in global warming is born of a respect and acknowledgement of the sound science that tells us that global warming is real. 

As Winston Churchill said, "I never worry about action, but only about inaction.

My concern “ my fear “ is that we are too far gone to save the planet we've neglected to protect because we've traded science for reading the wind.

Global warming is real and the extreme weather and sound science demonstrate that this is so. 

Let us know the crippling fear of inaction no longer.

Thank you.