Oversight Committee Held Two Key Hearings on Climate Change

Apr 10, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Apr. 10, 2019)—On Tuesday, the Committee on Oversight and Reform began its efforts this Congress to examine the fight against global climate change with two key hearings.  

On Tuesday morning, Chairman Elijah E. Cummings convened a hearing to examine the need for leadership to combat climate change and protect national security.  That afternoon, Subcommittee on the Environment Chairman Harley Rouda held the first of a series of hearings on the history of climate change and the reasons for inaction.

Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Former Secretary of State John Kerry


  • Secretary John Kerry and Secretary Chuck Hagel testified that they led a letter with nearly 60 top national security leaders, who have served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, stating that climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our country. 

  • They warned that a recent White House proposal to create a panel to question the science of climate change would be step in the wrong direction.  Instead, they urged the President to show real leadership on addressing the threat of climate change. 

  • Secretary Hagel testified that climate change is a “threat multiplier” that heightens the risk of armed conflicts, natural disasters, and public health crises. 

  • Both witnesses testified that green energy has enormous economic potential for the United States.  However, if the federal government fails to encourage American innovation in green technologies, we will lose our economic edge over China and other countries.

  • Chairman Cummings made a referral to Subcommittee Chairman Harley Rouda to conduct a “deep dive” on issues surrounding climate change and report back to the full committee.       

  • Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) explained that the next generation is already feeling the effects of inaction on climate change from the 1980s.

  • Dr. Tim Wirth and Senator Michael Oppenheimer testified that the decades of inaction on climate change is influenced by the fossil fuel industry.  Dr. Jeffrey Sachs testified that  influences by the fossil fuel industry are still continuing to this day  and have caused current inaction on climate change.   



The Honorable John Kerry

Former Secretary of State

Former United States Senator


The Honorable Chuck Hagel

Former Secretary of Defense

Former United States Senator



The Honorable Tim Wirth 
Former Senator from Colorado 
Vice Chairman and President Emeritus of the United Nations Foundation 


Michael Oppenheimer, Ph.D. 
Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs 
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs 
Princeton University


Jeffrey Sachs, Ph.D.

University Professor and Director, Center for Sustainable Development

School of International and Public Affairs

Columbia University


Nicolas Loris
Deputy Director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute of Economic Policy Studies and Herbert

and Joyce Morgan Fellow in Energy and Environmental Policy

The Heritage Foundation



Watch Chairman Cummings’s opening statement.

Watch Subcommittee Chairman Rouda’s opening statement.

Watch Secretary John Kerry highlight the need for White House leadership.

Watch Rep. Tlaib’s question line.

Watch Rep. Khanna’s question line.

Watch Rep. Hill’s question line.



116th Congress