U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers: ‘Clear that climate is changing’


WILMINGTON — While climate change is not among the “Issue Priorities” listed on Steve Stivers (R-Ohio 15th District) re-election campaign website, he told the News Journal he thinks the United States can be a leader in developing technology that makes emissions cleaner.

In Wilmington recently for an economic roundtable discussion, Stivers spoke during his NJ interview about climate change and the recently enacted STOP School Violence Act which he co-sponsored.

Stivers said he had read summaries of the long report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that came out in October, calling it a sobering report.

“It is clear the climate is changing to me. We need policy responses that work,” said the congressman.

He thinks the United States, which had its Industrial Revolution generations ago, is in a position to help lead the way on emissions-cleaning technology because countries such as China, India, Russia and Brazil may not want to give up their own Industrial Revolutions.

“We need to figure out how to create negative-emissions technology that can be used to essentially clean like a vacuum cleaner cleans this floor. Negative-emissions technology would take emissions and change them and put more oxygen and less carbon dioxide in the air,” said Stivers.

The technology is still in development, he said, and he thinks there needs to be a continuing effort in that direction largely because governments around the world aren’t likely to do what’s against their economic interest.

“So, the only way we get there is if we focus on negative-emissions technology in my opinion,” said the four-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In essence, negative-emissions technology would involve “giant greenhouses” that re-oxygenate the environment, Stivers said.

“That’s what I think we [United States] need to focus research dollars on, focus a real effort on. I think we can be one of the leaders; I think there are other countries that are recognizing [it] in Europe and want to be part of the leaders on that, so I think this is something we need to talk about and we need to talk about how we can do it,” he said.

Stivers thinks the emissions problem has to be fixed in a way that will last the long-term. He added “we don’t have forever” [to fix it].

The 53-year-old Columbus resident stated the United States is the biggest carbon emitter in the world. But he said even if this country were to attain zero emissions, other countries are growing fast enough it won’t matter.

In that context he said, “It’s called global warming, not America warming.”

He said he does see a role for the U.S. federal government. Stivers said he thinks right now that role is mostly “in support and research and development.”

There’s also a need for a focus by the private sector on cleaner-emissions technology, he said.

In the end, the technology won’t be free and it will be in demand, he added.

“When you get negative-emissions technology, somebody will pay for it,” said Stivers.

He was asked to say some words about the STOP (Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing) School Violence Act.

Schools soon will receive grant applications from the Ohio Department of Education for the nearly $700,000 made available to schools in the Buckeye state from this federal legislation, he said.

This program provides funds to develop threat assessment and crisis intervention teams, anonymous reporting systems, and training for students, school personnel and local law enforcement officers so they can partner in preventing violent events.

Stivers said he is also a co-sponsor of a threat assessment bill that he hopes to see passed. It’s meant to improve the channels of communication.

It requires Homeland Security to create a process such that once there are threats identified, to make sure law enforcement and school officials are immediately advised of that information “so they know what the threats are out there for their individual schools and communities.”

When law enforcement identifies someone who might be a potential threat, Stivers said he supports giving tools to law enforcement to stop school violence before it occurs.

“I think there are ways we can give law enforcement more help,” he said.

The approach to the school shootings problem also needs to deal with mental health issues, taking a look at common-sense gun policy, and making sure school facilities have safety measures, Stivers said.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger

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