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Washington, D.C.- Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul delivered the following opening statement at a full committee hearing on forest conservation and climate change. 

WATCH HERE.

-Remarks as Delivered-

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to thank Majority Leader Hoyer for being here today and talking about your AMAZON 21 bill and Natural Resources Ranking Member Westerman for joining us today to discuss your work to address deforestation.

As Ranking Member of this committee, I have had the opportunity to travel to Africa and Latin America.

I’ve seen the importance of conservation and preserving our environment firsthand.

This committee has an important role to play in conserving the environment, and that includes forests, marine sanctuaries, and endangered species around the world.

Since my early days of serving in Congress, I have been a member of the International Conservation Caucus, one of the largest and most bipartisan caucuses in Congress.

Conservation is a logical solution in addressing climate change.

It has been championed by Republicans for over a century, all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt.

He understood that we must protect our environment and sustainably and manage our natural resources, before it is too late.

I’ve been proud to have advanced bipartisan conservation efforts here in Congress.

I have supported Congressman Chabot’s Tropical Forest and Coral Reef Conservation Reauthorization Act and former Chairman Royce’s legislation supporting a conservation area in Southern Africa, the DELTA Act.

I am also an original cosponsor of Ranking Member Westerman’s Trillion Trees Act.

The United States has, and will continue to play, an important role in preventing deforestation.

Mr.Chairman, I think we both have the same goal here.

In the last five years alone, over $2 billion has been provided by Congress, to protect critical landscapes and empower communities to manage their own resources.

But there are other tools on the table aside from traditional foreign aid.

For instance engaging in debt-for-nature swaps and debt buyback programs, the United States is helping preserve land across the globe.

The U.S. Development Finance Corporation has an important role to play as well, to engage the private sector and advance new innovations.

Unfortunately, these efforts are undercut by the malign activities of the Peoples Republic of China.

China accounts for nearly a third of global emissions.

In fact, PRC emissions grew four times more than what the U.S. reduced. Today, China emits more than the entire developed world.

CCP General Xi Jinping has said China only intends to become carbon neutral by 2060, a full decade after other major economies.

We cannot wait decades hoping the CCP will be a reliable partner in addressing climate change.

And we must also not be afraid to call them out on this.

Their search for rosewood, an endangered hardwood used in traditional Chinese furniture has devasted the forests of Madagascar and the Mekong region.

We also must stop illegal logging.

And we must decrease demand, while increasing US options on the global market for lumber, agriculture, energy and critical minerals.

This will decrease global emissions as the U.S. does it more efficiently and cleaner.
America is the world leader in reducing carbon emissions, reducing emissions more than the next seven countries combined.

By 2030, over 90% of global emissions will come from outside the United States.

I would have to say that America’s climate policy should be based on American resources, innovation, and our ability to compete to reduce global emissions.

As I said Mr. Chairman and Mr. Leader, we all have the same goal here. I am intrigued by the idea of the rain forest.

I’ve often said they are the lungs of the world, and whatever we can do help preserve the lungs of the world, our children will be better and their children will be better off.

And so with that I yield back.”

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