DeFazio on Climate Change

The congressman responds to critiques of a quote in Politico

In response to Jim Neu’s letter to the editor “Get With It, Pete” (Nov. 21) on the issue of climate change and fossil fuel and carbon pollution: 

Jim, I’ve been with it for more than 20 years. In November 1998, in recognition of my leadership role on climate change on the Natural Resources Committee, I was chosen as the Democratic House representative to the Kyoto Protocol conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was sent to the conference to defend the Clinton administration’s signing of the Kyoto Treaty on Nov. 12. 

The Republicans who controlled Congress at the time scheduled a big press event in Buenos Aires to trash Clinton’s signing of the treaty. I staked out a guerilla news conference outside the Republican event and garnered a lot of press in countering their misinformation.

I have long talked about carbon pollution and climate change as an existential threat to the planet.

More than 10 years ago, I introduced legislation with Jim McDermott from Washington state to cap, regulate and reduce carbon pollution — very similar to the successful Clean Water Act mandates.

In the 2010 election, I was challenged by prominent climate change denier Art Robinson, who was generously funded by the likes of Robert Mercer and the Koch brothers. They wanted Robinson to write a proof that climate change was a hoax. That “proof” was widely circulated in a petition. Climate change was one of the major subjects during that election cycle along with the Affordable Care Act. I was attacked for my advocacy for carbon reduction and support of the Affordable Care Act. 

Climate change has been a top issue in each of my last five elections where I’ve taken a strong position in favor of the Paris Accords and the need for urgent action beyond the Paris Accords.

I will continue to aggressively push for Congress to act decisively and comprehensively to curb carbon emissions and invest in new and existing technologies to free us from dependence on fossil fuels. 

It is unfortunate that one very misleading article in the rag Politico has led some like Jim Neu to question my commitment.

Congressman Peter DeFazio was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1986 and is now the longest-serving House member in Oregon’s history.