Chairman Scott Opening Statement at Hearing on Climate Change and the U.S. Agriculture and Forestry SectorsThu, 25 Feb 2021 12:37:34 CST
House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott delivered the following statement at today's hearing on Climate Change and the U.S. Agriculture and Forestry Sectors
House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott delivered the following statement at today's hearing on Climate Change and the U.S. Agriculture and Forestry Sectors:
Good Morning, I’m excited to be here today for our first full Committee hearing and in particular to begin work on what is without a doubt the greatest challenge before us - climate change. I am also excited for the opportunity to work with my colleague, Ranking Member Thompson of Pennsylvania this Congress as he joins me in launching our first hearing together.
The U.S. agriculture sector is amongst the most productive in the world, contributing over 136 billion dollars to the U.S. economy and directly supporting 2.6 million jobs. The U.S. forestry sector is another economic engine. In 2020, that sector manufactured $300 billion dollars in forest products and employed approximately 940,000 people.
Over the past century, long-term changes in weather patterns have driven major changes across the globe, including the very landscapes that support these sectors. Since 1880, the average global temperature has increased about 2°degrees Fahrenheit. Increased temperatures have accompanied changes in rainfall patterns and more frequent climatic extremes. Most recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2020 as the second warmest year on record, after 2016.
These changes introduce significant risks to agricultural production, forest resources, and the economy. These risks cannot be understated. According to USDA’s Economic Research Service, climate change will likely affect risk-management tools, financial markets, and our global food security, among other important areas.
Our farmers, ranchers, and forest managers understand these risks, and they are the first to experience the pressures of a changing climate. But American producers are resilient, and many are already adopting production practices that not only improve productivity but store carbon and reduce emissions in the atmosphere. And yet there is tremendous opportunity to do more. It is incumbent on this Committee to ensure producers have the financial and technical resources they need to understand climate risks, consider mitigation strategies, and receive the support they need to make important investments in their operations.
I am excited to have such a broad range of witnesses to discuss these points today. I am also eager to hear how we may improve upon current policy and scale existing investments in proportion to the magnitude of the challenge. I look forward to your testimony.
With that I would like to invite our Ranking Member Thompson for any opening remarks.
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