We must treat the global climate crisis as every bit as immediate and profound as COVID-19. The COVID pandemic has taught us that when communities around the globe take a threat seriously enough, they are capable of changing their behavior quickly and radically. We must approach climate change with the same sense of urgency, determination, and unity we have brought to the pandemic.
Humans have raised the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere by 1° Celsius. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, if we do everything we can it is possible to limit warming to an additional 0.5°, which could prevent up to 50% of the negative impacts on our environment we will see if we stay on our current course.
Across the U.S. and the world, we have experienced an increased ferocity of wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts. An unprecedented number of species are in danger of extinction. Whole ecosystems are adjusting in unpredictable ways. There are climate change refugees seeking refuge and whole communities whose homes are gone. And the poorest and most disadvantaged communities will be the first to lose access to clean water, productive land, and a livable climate.
To keep the Earth habitable and to prevent unprecedented suffering, people, businesses and governments at every level must take every possible step to eliminate emissions of greenhouse gases and to sequester carbon. And we must do it in a way that does not disadvantage people at the lower end of the economic spectrum. We know what needs to be done to move back from the brink. We only need the will to do it.
Climate change is the result of many different human activities, and we need to address as many as possible. Legislative action that can be taken includes:
Yes, I know this is an ambitious agenda, but let’s work together to make it a realistic one!