Alaska Dispatch: Congress must lead on carbon pollution
On Earth Day (April 22) this year, many Americans are appalled at the new administration's lack of commitment to protect the environment and limit greenhouse gases. Although a decision to renege on the Paris climate agreement has been deferred, President Trump's executive order to abandon the Clean Power Plan casts great doubt on the U.S.'s ability to honor its pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Coming up short on the Paris commitment would tremendously set back global efforts to keep temperatures from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
Rep. Curbelo has emerged as a true leader among Republicans on the climate issue. When EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt denied the link between climate change and CO2 emissions, Curbelo issued a statement calling Pruitt's comments "reckless and unacceptable." Curbelo also wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging the administration to remain in the Paris climate agreement.
"… today's rollback of emission standards is misguided. Climate change is occurring and it is not a coincidence global temperatures have risen at the same time tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide have been added to the atmosphere. We see the effects of climate change firsthand in South Florida, resulting in rising sea-levels, bleached coral reefs, and salt water intrusion. Climate change is also a threat to our national security and local economies across the country. We cannot, and must not, ignore these challenges.
"I continue to believe economic growth and dealing with this threat are not mutually exclusive … Weak environmental policies ultimately lead to the destruction of jobs and quality of life …"