Like the balmy temperatures of early January, President George W. Bush’s first mention of climate change in his annual State of the Union speech was a signal that global warming has arrived in Washington DC. And just as quickly as the weather turned wintry again, climate change has gone from a hoax to a serious issue on Capitol Hill, second only to Iraq in the number of hearings that have been held by the new Congress.

This historic change is led by history-making Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to serve in that position, and as third in line for the presidency, the most powerful female politician in US history. Speaker Pelosi has made clear her intention to pursue the issue aggressively by creating a special committee to examine global warming and demanding that initial climate legislation be drafted by this summer. She even took the rare step for a Speaker of testifying before the House science committee as part of a hearing on the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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