(Washington, DC)  House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) today welcomed fellow Tennessean and colleague Former Vice President Al Gore to a joint meeting of the Science and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment and the Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality.

Vice President Gore testified on the importance of Congress taking action to combat the effects of climate change.  

“In the IPCC report released earlier this year, expert scientists from around the world agreed that climate change is underway, it will continue and that those changes are driven by human activity.  I said it then and I will say it again, now is the time to act.  The hearing today was part of that process.  This Committee will work with our colleagues in Congress to supply the foremost tools and information to address the challenge before us,” said Chairman Gordon.

Chairman Gordon’s full opening statement to this morning’s joint subcommittee meeting follows:

“It is both my pleasure and a great privilege this morning to welcome the Honorable Albert Gore, Jr., former Vice President of the United States to this hearing.  Vice President Gore has devoted almost 30 years to the subject of global warming and is here today to offer his perspective on this important issue. 

As a Member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Gore invited his former college professor, Dr. Roger Revelle, to testify before the Committee on Science and Technology about the potential consequences of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

During his tenure in the Senate and during his 1987 campaign for the Presidency he continued to talk about the importance of dealing with global environmental issues such as ozone depletion and climate change.  

Climate change is not the type of issue that politicians usually raise as a centerpiece of their message.  As former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill used to say: ‘All politics is local.’  But, Mr. Gore took on the challenge of convincing people that a global environmental issue like climate change is something they should be concerned about. 

Through his dedication and conviction about the importance of this issue he has met the challenge of turning a global issue into a local concern.  The actions being taken by cities and states across the country to begin to address climate change are proof of his success. 

Most recently through his documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, he has brought the science and the evidence of climate change together to make a compelling case that the consequences of climate change will alter global average conditions in ways that will impact our communities.

I have known Al Gore and his wife Tipper for years.  They are deeply committed to their family and to this country.  These commitments continue to provide them with the energy and drive to keep this issue moving forward.  We all want to leave our children a world filled with all the promise and wonder that we inherited from our parents and grandparents.  We have no choice but to begin to act in a way that will secure that inheritance for our children.

Addressing climate change will not be easy.  This problem arose over a long period of time as an unintended consequence of our use of fossil fuels to power our economy and improve our quality of life.  However, now that we know the problem is real we must begin to address this issue.  We owe our children and grandchildren a clean, healthy environment. 

Vice President Gore has provided us with clear picture of the problem and a number of concrete ideas for solving it.  Thank you, Al for your service to the nation and for your dedication and persistence on this important issue.”