Earth Day is a reminder that dramatic action is needed to curb the carbon and methane emissions responsible for the planetary crisis of global warming. Sen. Bernie Sanders cited a warning this month by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of the world’s leading climate scientists, which reported that emissions of greenhouse gases have gone up nearly twice as fast so far in the 21st century as they did in the last decades of the 20th century.
The UN panel did not recommend specific actions, but it mentioned potential solutions. One approach is to put a price on carbon pollution. Sanders is the chief sponsor of legislation introduced in the Senate to put a fee on carbon and methane emissions. The bill is cosponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Their measure would help create millions of jobs in a transformation of our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and such sustainably energies as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. Sanders also has proposed a bill to end subsidies for oil and gas companies. Both bills have faced fierce opposition by Republicans in Congress who reject the scientific conclusion that climate change is occurring and that is man-made.
“Unless we take bold action to reverse climate change, our children and grandchildren are going to look back on this period in history and ask a very simple question: ‘Where were they? Why didn’t the United States of America lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community was sure would come?’”