Representative Adriano Espaillat Addresses Impact of Climate Change

April 25, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – During remarks before the Full House Foreign Affairs Committee Markup to address various issues, Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) spoke on the urgency to put forth policies that will address the existential threat of climate change and the impact to communities around the nation.


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*The following are remarks by Rep. Espaillat as prepared for delivery:


“Mr. Chairman, I strongly support this legislation as a crucial first step in advancing policies to address the existential threat that is climate change.


“It is a shame that we are forced to consider a bill today that simply prevents the U.S. from regressing from its commitment to mitigate climate change. I know many of my colleagues and I would rather be acting on bold policies that are so desperately needed.


“That being said – remaining in the Paris Agreement should be our baseline, and the U.S. should prioritize working with global partners to pursue policies that keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, to transition to clean energies, and to mitigate the effects of climate change that we are already seeing.


“The effects of climate change are evident today in more extreme temperatures and more frequent and more intense natural disasters, exacerbating conflicts, degrading public health, and diminishing access to food and clean water for millions around the world.


“And many studies and reports affirm a simple fact: both the causes and effects of climate change have been impacting already vulnerable communities at greater and disproportionate levels.


“Lower-income communities, indigenous peoples, communities of color, agrarian and other marginalized communities not only are bearing the brunt of the impacts of climate change, but these communities also have lower capacity to prepare for and cope with extreme weather and climate-related events - endangering their health and wellbeing.


“The people of the Caribbean have faced years-long drought and catastrophic hurricanes that are decimating agriculture.


“The Northern Triangle faces an extreme “dry corridor” – causing food shortages and further affecting migration trends.


“Across South Asia, rising sea levels threaten island communities, and in Southern Africa, shifts in rain patterns strain agricultural production – leading to malnutrition and multiplying the threat of armed conflict and extremism.


“But it’s not just happening to other countries.


“At home in the U.S., urban heat islands affecting predominantly African-American and LatinX communities have led to an increase in health problems, such as in Florida where a longer allergy season, worsening air quality, and mosquito-borne illnesses are affecting the health of the most vulnerable.


“In my district, black and brown children are experiencing worsening asthma because of increased heat and pollution – parents come to my office looking for help for health care they cannot afford.

“This is a global issue, and I am glad that the Foreign Affairs Committee today is demonstrating that we understand the need to address climate change with global solutions.

But we also must address the need for environmental justice – that the Global North is the biggest contributor to climate change disparities that are impacting the Global South, and that in our districts, those constituents who are most in need are also the ones experiencing the greatest harm from climate change.


“We must incorporate climate justice into all of our policies as we move forward.

“Every piece of legislation on climate change considered by this House, in every bill we pass and at every hearing we hold, we must ensure that climate justice is addressed.


“We must proactively work to protect the most vulnerable among us.


“I hope that today is just the beginning, and I look forward to this House, this Committee, continuing the work of mitigating climate change and addressing the needs of communities of color and globally marginalized communities.


“Thank you, Mr. Chair, I yield the remainder of my time.”


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First elected to Congress in 2016, Rep. Adriano Espaillat is serving his second term in Congress where he serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Small Business Committee.  He serves as a Senior Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) where he also serves in a leadership role as CHC Whip. He is also chairman of the CHC Task Force for Transportation, Infrastructure and Housing. Rep. Espaillat’s Congressional District includes Harlem, East Harlem, northern Manhattan and the north-west Bronx.  To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at


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