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Having Representative Grijalva introduce the Clean Energy/Green Jobs Resolution can have a significant and historic impact in making climate change a top priority in Congress. This Resolution will serve as an organizing vehicle to educate elected officials, congressional staff, other policymakers and the general public.
The chief purpose of the Clean Energy/Green Jobs Resolution is to stop climate change and to create millions of green jobs throughout the United States by supporting a policy of net zero greenhouse gas emissions (fossil free) and 100% renewable energy by 2050.
The United States, as the biggest emitter of legacy greenhouse gases and as an economic, military and technological superpower, has a moral duty to lead the world in stopping climate catastrophe that is in our future if major reductions in fossil fuels do not begin immediately.
Pope Francis I issued the first Papal Encyclical, called “Laudato Si’ ” (“Be praised”), on climate change stating a “very consistent scientific consensus that we are in the presence of an alarming warming of the climactic system.” The Pope writes that there is an “urgent and compelling” need for policies that reduce carbon emissions, among other ways, by “replacing fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”
The Clean Energy/Green Jobs Resolution calls on the United States and the world, among other things, to set a goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions (fossil free) and 100% renewable energy for energy sectors by the year 2050. It also calls on the United States to set a goal of achieving 50% renewable energy for the U.S. electric power grid by the year 2030.
Climate change, even though no person or nation can escape its dire consequences, currently, and at an increasing rate, has a disproportionate impact worldwide on people of color, lower income people, the disabled, women and others who face legal, economic and cultural obstacles stemming from racism, sexism, anti-immigrant, anti-LBGT, anti-poor or other forms of injustice.
The following are disturbing facts that demand immediate action to address climate change by transitioning to a fossil free, renewable energy based economy:
- Based on current commitments by nations, the world’s estimated remaining carbon budget consistent with a 50% chance of keeping the rise in temperature below 2°C is consumed by around 2040…” the International Energy Agency (IEA) report states. 2°C is the world nation’s agreed upon limit to prevent climate catastrophe.
- The last time the concentration of carbon dioxide reached 400 parts per million in the atmosphere was more than 800,000 years ago—350 ppm is considered the safe limit; the world is on the path to exceed 450 ppm and much higher if drastic action is not taken.
- 2000-2010 was the hottest decade in the world since record keeping began in the 1800s.
- July 2015 was the hottest month in the world since record keeping began.
- 2015 had the hottest first 6 months of any year in the world since recordkeeping.
- 92% of the State of California is in severe drought conditions as of September 2015.
- The years where the number of acres burned due to wildfires exceeded 8 million acres (greater than the size of the State of Maryland) since recordkeeping began in 1960 include 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2015—all since the year 2004.
- Scientists conclude that Earth is undergoing its Sixth Mass Extinction Event and that extinction rates are 100 time greater than if human-caused climate change was not a factor.
Those who have made public statements supporting a fossil free world by 2050 or even earlier include Vice President Al Gore, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President Jimmy Carter, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, entrepreneur Richard Branson, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Arianna Huffington, Bill Gates and many others.
What more do we need before the United States decides to take the necessary action to stop climate catastrophe?
With the future in mind,
Russell Greene, Board President, People Demanding Action
Stop Global Warming Environmental Issues, Progressive Democrats of America
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