The path to a healthy, stable climate grew considerably murkier last week. The president-elect’s statements signal a harder fight than ever to ensure the U.S. continues to play a leading role in global efforts to meet the challenges posed by climate change.
The president-elect has, for example:
- Claimed that ”the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive;”
- Pledged to “cancel” the Paris Climate Agreement;
- Promised to lift restrictions on coal, oil, natural gas, and shale, and revisit the Keystone Pipeline;
- Vowed to halt U.S. funding of United Nations climate change programs; and
- Tapped prominent climate skeptic and non-scientist Myron Ebell to lead the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency, whose staff the president-elect may cut.
The list, unfortunately, continues.
While it is still far too early to know the specifics of the next president’s climate and energy agenda, it is incumbent upon us all to continue pushing for meaningful climate action. The U.S. defense community has recommended that the new administration view climate as a security threat. Many in the global community have indicated their intent to continue to work hard to address the climate change, whether or not the president-elect does otherwise. More than 380 businesses and investment entities sent a letter to U.S. and global leaders urging the U.S. to continue participation in the Paris Agreement. And the White House just issued a 111-page blueprint “to deeply decarbonize the U.S. economy by 2050.” For my part, with my colleagues in the House and Senate, I will look for every opportunity to advance climate progress and emphatically resist any attempts to effect carbon-reckless policies.
And where we see a vacuum in federal leadership on climate change, state and local governments, private industry, non-profit entities, and private citizens from all walks of life can and must step in to fill the void. Consider getting involved wherever you can, as there is simply too much at stake to stand idly by.