Forum on the Impacts of Climate Change, Safe Climate Caucus

Sep 17, 2013

On Tuesday, September 17, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building, the Safe Climate Caucus convened a forum to hear from individuals who have experienced first-hand the serious impacts of climate change.  Several speakers shared their stories, including a Texas rancher who discussed the impact of the extreme drought; a New York resident who lived through Superstorm Sandy; an Iowa farmer who is struggling with rapidly changing temperatures and precipitation levels; a Gulf Coast resident who has witnessed the impact of severe hurricanes and rising sea levels on his community; and a California resident who has seen and breathed the effects of an enormous wildfire near Yosemite.

The Safe Climate Caucus is a group of Democratic members who highlight the need for action on climate change through daily floor speeches and other activities. 


Opening Statement from Chairman Henry A. Waxman, Safe Climate Caucus



Matt Russell is a fifth generation farmer from Lacona, Iowa.  He has had to cope with several extreme weather events in recent years, including unseasonably hot and cold temperatures, historic drought, and flooding. 

Emily Dondero lives in Sonora, California.  Her community is currently suffering the effects of a massive wildfire that has led to evacuations, the closings of schools and businesses, and degraded air quality.   

Hugh Fitzsimons is a bison rancher and beekeeper in Carrizo Springs, Texas.  The drought of 2011 forced him to shrink his bison herd and dramatically reduced his honey production.

Stefanie Kravitz lives in Long Beach, New York, a city on a barrier island on the Atlantic Ocean that suffered some of the worst devastation from Hurricane Sandy.  Her family’s home was flooded and damaged, destroying repairs they had made in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

Reverend Tyronne Edwards is a native of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.  Rev. Edwards is the founder and Executive Director of the Zion Traveler Cooperative Center, which he organized in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to help rebuild his damaged community.

Dr. Noah Diffenbaugh is an Assistant Professor in the School of Earth Sciences and Center Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.  Dr. Diffenbaugh is currently a Lead Author for Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is focused on assessing the impacts of climate change on human beings and the environment.