When Oxford Dictionaries chooses “climate emergency” as the word of the year for 2019, you know things are changing. Our children are inheriting a world vastly different and more dangerous than the one we grew up in, and we need to act on climate now.
Yet as world leaders meet in Madrid this week to discuss progress towards cutting global warming pollution and hitting the targets of the historic international Paris Agreement, President Trump has vowed to pull our country out. And, back at home, the Trump administration continues its assaults on the best climate policies we have, from Clean Car standards to regulations on methane leaks at oil and gas production sites.
In the face of this commitment to climate denial and dirty energy that is harming our families and communities, leaders across party lines are getting worried about the political fallout. As Rep. Frances Rooney (R-FL) said in a recent call to action, “It’s time for my fellow Republicans in Congress to stop treating this environmental threat as something abstract and political and recognize that it’s already affecting their constituents in their daily lives. If we don’t change our party’s position soon, our voters will punish us.”
The good news is that we know that strong majorities of Americans favor climate solutions such as solar power and offshore wind. And we have many powerful leaders, like the governor and legislators of California, the largest state in the country and the fifth largest economy world-wide, who are leading our country and the international community, toward a future free from carbon pollution.
Together, we are beginning to transition our society to using 100% clean energy sources. We can double down on our commitments to give Americans more options to walk, bike and take public transit. We can make sure that enough electric charging stations are on the ground, so we can choose to drive electric. We can buy clean, electric buses for our communities and our schools.
Our congressional, state, and local leaders can vote for building codes and support weatherization programs that ensure our homes and offices stop wasting energy. We can choose efficient appliances and light bulbs. We can stop subsidizing dirty fossil fuels used for centuries, and keep them in the ground.
America, it’s time to tell all of our leaders, especially President Trump, that we want a society powered by clean, renewable energy and a government that supports our families’ health and a stable climate. Let’s meet and beat our Paris Agreement goals to cut carbon pollution. And let’s tell the world: we are still in.