Senator: 'Literally, There are Buildings and Houses Falling Into the Ocean'

Matt Vespa | February 13, 2014 | 12:23pm EST
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As the Washington D.C. area recovers from Winter Storm Pax, here's a rather interesting statement from Alaskan Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) about climate change's effect on his state. The Senate hearing about mitigating extreme weather was held yesterday, right before Pax dumped snow all over the east coast.

Houses and buildings in Alaska are "literally" falling into the sea, Sen. Begich told the Senate hearing:

"It's a hard issue to grapple with because there are political views on climate change, but that's not the issue. The issue is: it is happening. We can argue over it all we want. But, in my state, we see it every single day.

"We have disaster after disaster, we have huge costs that are associated with it and, even though we're far away, 5,000 miles away, small villages we, literally, there are buildings and houses are falling into the ocean.

"This is not a hypothetical situation or theory, it's real."

During the hearing, Sen. Begich, who couldn't stay for the duration, noted how climate change caused extreme weather is commonplace in Alaska and how temperatures dropping to below zero - in places like Barrow - are common.

"Alaska truly is on the front lines in terms of changing climate," said Sen. Begich. "The effects of extreme weather and existing challenges facing our communities in funding, including retreating sea ice, rapidly eroding shorelines, thawing permafrosts, ocean acidification, impact our economy on different levels," he added.

Later in his remarks he said, "I know when people talk about climate change, they get nervous. Is it their - you know they want to debate the science on it, I'm telling you climate change is occurring. My state is the example of it. Of what the impacts are - and it is extreme."

But, is "climate change occurring?"  Last November I wrote that NOAA noted that the 2013 hurricane season was its calmest in 30 years.  Additionally, we've seen the quietest tornado season in nearly 60 years; the creation of 19,000 Manhattans-worth of sea ice; and the Arctic ice cap, which was supposed to be completely gone by this year, grew by 920,000 square miles.

In 1975, the same people warned about "global cooling" and were wrong. They might be wrong now, but it's safe to say that the jury is still out on global climate change, or whatever you want to call it now.

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