by Environmental Defense Fund | Updated on 3.18.19
This article has been authored by the Environmental Defense Fund. Just take action above to sign this EDF Action petition, or contact your lawmakers to let them know how you feel about climate change.
By Nat Keohane, Senior Vice President of EDF's Climate program
I've been working on climate change for a long time, but I've never seen a moment like the one we're in now.
The surge in political energy across the country and on Capitol Hill, coupled with the leaps and bounds made in low-carbon technology, gives me hope that, even with the daily reminders of the obstacles we face, we can solve this challenge.
It's clear that politicians are responding to pressure from home.
A recent poll by our partner organization, EDF Action, and other allies found an astonishing result: Climate change is cited as a top tier issue by more Democratic primary voters than any other issue in three of the five early primary states surveyed – California, New Hampshire and Iowa – and it places second in another, Nevada.
Nationally, a poll by Yale and George Mason universities indicates that the number of Americans who are "alarmed" about climate change is at an all-time high, 29 percent. This is "double that segment's size in 2013 and an 8-point increase since March 2018," the poll found. Overall, 59 percent of Americans are either alarmed or "concerned."
What's the cause? The foundation was laid over many years by the tireless work of activists and climate scientists.
But more immediately, I think it's a combination of anger at the backward policies of this White House, of recent reports on climate impacts from the U.S. government and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the bold ambition of a new wave of young activists led by groups like the Sunrise Movement, and of vivid images of impacts like the California wildfires and violent East Coast hurricanes.
To succeed, we must find solutions that address the scale of the challenge, while being politically sustainable over the long term.
A comprehensive policy package should center on putting enforceable limits on climate pollution and requiring companies to pay when they pollute. When companies must face the true costs of their pollution, and profit more from clean energy than from fossil fuels, we will spur a race to build a prosperous low-carbon economy.
What's more, everything else we need to do to meet the climate challenge, such as increasing energy efficiency in buildings and improving fuel economy in cars, will have even greater impact – because market forces will be pushing in the same direction as climate progress instead of against it.
We also need to invest in new ways to remove climate pollution from the atmosphere, whether through farm and forest practices that absorb more carbon, or stepped-up research and development into direct air capture technologies. It's going to take all the tools we have to meet this challenge.
Our goal is federal legislation that puts America on an efficient, effective and durable path to 100-percent clean energy across the entire economy by 2050.
With President Trump in the White House and signs of climate impacts all around us, we can't afford casual optimism. But the surge in political momentum gives me new hope that we can win this fight.
Written by Environmental Defense Fund
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