Dire climate warn­ings de­mand action

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION - — Philadel­phia In­quirer, The Associated Press

This week’s fright­en­ing United Na­tions’ global warm­ing re­port de­picts a world un­able to com­bat climate change un­less it takes “un­prece­dented” action.

It warns that the Earth’s tem­per­a­ture could rise by 1.5 de­grees Cel­sius or 2.7 de­grees Fahren­heit above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els by the end of the cen­tury.

As a re­sult of warm­ing, most climate sci­en­tists pre­dict worse and more fre­quent floods, wild­fires in the West and droughts in the Mid­west — as well as all the hu­man suf­fer­ing and prop­erty dam­age these dis­as­ters cause.

Even the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion pulled its head out of the sand in Au­gust to ac­knowl­edge that the planet is warm­ing but then said it won’t fight it.

This comes from an ad­min­is­tra­tion that is abet­ting pol­luters by cut­ting emis­sions stan­dards on ve­hi­cles and coal plants, drop­ping out of an international climate-change agree­ment, cut­ting staff at the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and putting it in the hands of cheer­lead­ers for the fos­sil fuel in­dus­try. That’s sui­ci­dal. It would be ex­tremely fool­ish for any­one to adopt the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fa­tal­is­tic at­ti­tude be­cause there are so­lu­tions — the pol­luters just don’t like them.

On Nov. 6, vot­ers have a chance to elect can­di­dates who are com­mit­ted to fight global warm­ing. One third of the Se­nate, in­clud­ing seats in Penn­syl­va­nia and New Jersey, and all 435 House seats are up this year.

If you’re not sure how to vote, just click on www. opense­crets.org and see which can­di­dates are tak­ing money from pol­luters.

But even if vot­ers across the coun­try fail to elect a cli­mate­sen­si­tive Congress, they can make changes in their own states, which are pick­ing up the job of pro­tect­ing our environment.

Next month, res­i­dents of Washington state will vote on a car­bon tax that would cost pol­luters $15 for ev­ery ton of car­bon diox­ide they spew into our air.

The state says it could raise over $2 bil­lion in five years. Washington would in­vest the money in clean en­ergy de­vel­op­ment and mass tran­sit as well as pro­grams to pro­tect forests and streams.

A sim­i­lar ini­tia­tive failed in 2016, but if this one passes, Washington would be­come the first state to im­pose a car­bon tax, and oth­ers may fol­low.

Penn­syl­va­nia, a state deeply in­volved in both frack­ing and crack­ing, has a long way to go in be­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, though At­tor­ney Gen­eral Josh Shapiro has joined other states in su­ing the EPA over the roll­back of emis­sion stan­dards.

New Jersey, gen­er­ally bet­ter on en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, is fight­ing off­shore oil drilling with a tough new ban, up­dat­ing its Shore Pro­tec­tion Plan, and mak­ing it eas­ier for off­shore wind farm de­vel­op­ment

Con­sumers play an im­por­tant role, too. They can choose clean en­ergy to fuel their homes and ve­hi­cles.

If they won’t, the gov­ern­ment should hit con­sumers in the wal­lets with a con­sumer car­bon tax on fos­sil fuel us­age.

Even small steps mat­ter, in­clud­ing us­ing mass tran­sit, trad­ing in plas­tic bags for re­us­able sacks, and sup­port­ing tree planting pro­grams, such as Philadel­phia’s treep­hilly.org.

If we don’t fight climate change now, we will lose our qual­ity of life and con­demn fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to a world where just breath­ing could be dan­ger­ous.

On Nov. 6, vot­ers have a chance to elect can­di­dates who are com­mit­ted to fight global warm­ing. One third of the Se­nate, in­clud­ing seats in Penn­syl­va­nia and New Jersey, and all 435 House seats are up this year.

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