In the land of 10,000 lakes, we appreciate the value of clean and natural areas. And it shows through our political leadership.
Last week, the Environment America Research & Policy Center released their latest climate change report, stating that Minnesota’s 2012 renewable-energy standards reduced carbon pollution by 3.2 million metric tons.
The week before that, thirty-one Democratic and Independent Senators participated in an all night climate session on the Senate floor as a part of the newly created Climate Action Task Force. The task force aims to increase awareness of the international threats posed by climate change and overall environmental degradation. Many of the speakers during the all night session focused on the scientific findings from the IPCC’s latest climate report.
Nathaniel Bindoff, a lead author of the report, summarized the findings:
“From all of these lines of evidence, we conclude that humans are the dominant cause of changes in the climate system.”
The report shows that more and more scientific evidence points to the fact that human activity is negatively influencing global temperatures. This has become the consensus among a majority of the scientific community.
Senator Franken was one of the many Senators who spoke at the session. Franken said:
“So when we talk about taking action on climate change, let’s start with what we can all agree on. Let’s do that stuff first.”
He’s got the right idea. By addressing the small issues first, political leaders can work their way toward addressing the large-scale problems causing climate change.
But it’s hard to play ball when only one team shows up to play. Arguably the most prominent feature of the all-night session was the absence of conservative senators.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell not only doesn’t support his colleagues efforts, he thinks they’re causing more harm than good. He said:
“So the idea is, we tie our own hands behind our back and others don’t. I think it’s beyond foolish and real people are being hurt by this.”
Senator McConnell and other conservative politicians are, well, being conservative on the issue of climate change. Their rationale is that if the U.S. passes stringent environmental legislation, then our economic activity will slow in comparison to other developed countries.
But it is simply not acceptable for politicians to sit on the sidelines instead of addressing environmental issues. This is more than just climate change, it’s overall environmental degradation. We know that something needs to change.
Maybe you’ve already solidified your opinion on climate change, Senator McConnell. Maybe no degree of scientific reasoning can sway you. But when the future generations look back to today, they’ll know who was fighting for the future and who was ignorant of the issue at hand.