Senator Brian Schatz: “Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and Congress must act.”
Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in 2012 experienced the second highest rise since record-keeping began in 1959. This jump in carbon dioxide levels is just the latest in a continuous stream of undeniable scientific evidence that humans are altering the climate of our planet. Yet, the only place where this is still an open question is in the halls of Congress.
In recent years, the United States has experienced a record number of devastating storms, extreme temperatures, severe floods and lasting droughts. It's no coincidence. As the climate changes, normal weather patterns are altered -- and this affects our environment, our health and our economy by influencing everything from the price of produce at the grocery store to our home insurance rates.
Climate change deniers should know they will be on the wrong side of history, but that won't prevent them from dragging their feet. They will cite the cost of a transition to a clean energy economy, while ignoring the cost of doing nothing. That cost is astronomical -- whether in storm aid, infrastructure mitigation, private property loss, or disruption in financial and insurance markets. It is much less expensive to move towards a clean energy economy than to allow severe weather to drain our economy as a whole.