We Can’t Wait for Climate Protection – We need to improve the American Power Act

By JP Leous – Climate Policy Advisor – The Wilderness Society

 

Even though the BP spill is getting all the headlines, major strides are being made on the Hill to deal with the other spill: the huge, long-term spill of carbon pollution into our skies.

 

Just over a week ago Sens. Kerry and Lieberman, flanked by energy and industry executives, unveiled their American Power Act (APA) discussion draft. Given that my previous post on green jobs elicited such a strong outpouring of interest, I thought this group would be eager to hear what the APA has in store for American Jobs on American lands.

 

As with most things that come out of Washington, there’s some good and some not-so good.  First, the good:  The APA includes a provision titled “Community Protection from Climate Change Impacts”, linking the wellbeing of our communities and economy to the ability of our wildlands and wildlife to adapt in a warming world. This provision lays out a serious of plans and policies that will help ensure federal and state agencies create coordinated adaptation plans to identify climate impacts and help our natural resources remain resilient. To be sure, this amounts to nothing less than a huge sea change from just a few years ago when the Bush administration wouldn’t let federal agencies even talk about these things! But this significant policy victory leads us to a gaping hole in the APA…

 

The APA fails to fund any of this important work until 2019—and then fails to provide sufficient resources that will get the job done. This is a huge concern for several reasons. The science is clear: climate change is impacting our wildlands, wildlife and water now—and will continue to do so for decades due to carbon pollution already in our skies. Substantial investments must be made now in order to give our natural resources the best chance possible to survive in a warming world.

 

The economics are clear: protecting these resources will help protect us and our wallets. Investments in helping our resources adapt protect our communities, health and businesses from climate impacts. For example, our wetlands keep our coastal communities safe, preventing $23.2 billion in damages from storms each year. What’s more, the restoration and land protections projects that keep these resources healthy help put people to work– dollar for dollar, often creating and protecting more jobs than most other industries, especially fossil fuels!  Each year we wait to invest in these important projects is another year we aren’t investing in this huge segment of our economy.

 

The ethics are clear: I’m not going to preach to this choir, but it’s pretty cut and dry—we know that failing to act now will mean species, ecosystems, and their dependent communities will suffer grave climate consequences. This creates an ethical imperative to double our efforts to keep species from going extinct, to keep our treasured wildlands healthy, and to keep our communities out of harm’s way.

 

For all these reasons and more, any energy and climate bill must address both the causes and effects of climate change—which means dedicating significant funds, starting immediately, to helping our communities by protecting our natural resources from climate impacts.

55 comments

LMj Sunshine
James Merit4 years ago

Thank you for article.

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LMj Sunshine
James Merit4 years ago

Thank you for article.

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LMj Sunshine
James Merit4 years ago

Thank you for article.

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LMj Sunshine
James Merit4 years ago

Thank you for article.

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LMj Sunshine
James Merit4 years ago

Thank you for article.

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Aspen M.
Aspen M8 years ago

definately

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Linda Mills
Linda Mills8 years ago

ty

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Linda Mills
Linda Mills8 years ago

ty

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Roxana J.
Roxana J8 years ago

Humanity is in need of protection! A change is needed ASAP!

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Mary T.
Mary T8 years ago

We need to start doing something right now.

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