But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods –all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science –and act before it’s too late.
Now the good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
This is especially a big deal here in Nevada, where we have already begun reaping the rewards of renewable energy investment. In fact, President Obama has talked about it before right here in Nevada.
Already, we've seen the benefits of developing a greener economy. However, we've also seen the dangers of insufficient action on climate change. Without a comprehensive national action plan to reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency, and invest in our green energy future, we can only expect more of the natural disasters that have already begun to wreak havoc on our state, our nation, and our planet.
Last night, President Obama asked Congress to take action. And already, at least a few on Capitol Hill are heeding his call.
Only an hour before President Obama is expected to deliver his State of the Union address—in which he might “go big” on the issue of combating climate change—two Senators announced they will introduce comprehensive climate change legislation this week, presenting a possible vehicle in the Senate for Obama’s ambitions. Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer will outline the legislation on Thursday morning. Details are scant, though it’s being billed as “major” and “comprehensive” legislation, and will have a carbon tax, per a statement from Sanders’s office:
"Under the legislation, a fee on carbon pollution emissions would fund historic investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. The proposal also would provide rebates to consumers to offset any efforts by oil, coal or gas companies to raise prices."
So can it be done? Will Congress finally act on the greatest global security threat of our time? Will Congress finally act on the greatest economic opportunity of our time?
We'll see. On one hand, even some conservatives have embraced not just the scientific consensus on climate change, but also an ambitious carbon tax policy to solve it. As President Obama noted last night, it wasn't too long ago when one-time rival (Senator) John McCain (R-Arizona) led a bloc of Republicans working on climate solutions. And Nevada's own Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-Mean, Green, Clean Energy Machine), has already promised to pursue climate and clean energy solutions.
It just remains to be seen what the Republicans in Nevada's Congressional Delegation are willing to do. Dean Heller (R-46%) has had a mixed record at best on climate policy so far in Congress. And already, Joe Heck (R-"TEA" Curious) is taking queues from the "tea party" on fossil fuel madness.
“If they are truly concerned about investing in energy, approve the Keystone pipeline,” Heck said, referring to a pipeline that, if permits are approved by the Obama administration, would stretch from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. “The energy part of his speech I think was just new variations on an old theme.”
Oh, yes. That's right. Heck continues to pretend that a dangerous, reckless scheme to further enrich a Canadian fossil fuel conglomerate is somehow a "serious energy solution". If anything, that would only exacerbate the climate crisis if approved. And on top of that, it likely wouldn't even produce any net job gains.
Yet again, the "tea party" is digging in its heels on climate denial and fossil fuel worship. Yet look at where that's brought us. We can't afford any more. Congress must act. This should really be a no-brainer. Will enough Republicans actually use their brains, further progress on creating green jobs, and move the nation forward on climate change?