This Earth Day, our new stay-home lifestyle has gave us an opportunity to observe the outdoors more than usual. Grey whales were as common off Whidbey beaches this spring as woodpeckers drumming on our houses. Animals reclaimed our deserted parks, and air over cities from Los Angeles to Delhi looks noticeably cleaner due to social distancing.
Still, invisible carbon dioxide continues to accumulate relentlessly in our atmosphere. As a result government scientists say 2020 is on track to become the warmest year ever recorded, which is striking given that this is not an El Nino year.
Congress can be absolved for not addressing climate change this month, given justifiable preoccupation with covid and the economy.
However, the virus provides a stark demonstration of both the importance of immediately addressing problems that accelerate with exponential speed, and the need to rely on experts while doing so. Scientists and economists say the same about global warming: acting promptly will allow a more moderate transition than if we let global temperatures get out of hand.
As our economy recovers, we must make wiser choices in how we make and use energy. Good rule of thumb: “electrify everything.”
Electric cars, lawn mowers, and home appliances are much better for us than gas-powered equivalents, especially when the electricity used has been created renewably. Demand that Congress enact sensible carbon pricing. This could be used to fund stimulus checks, simultaneously addressing both our climate and economic problems, without growing our debt.
One of the ways America can come out of the present crisis better would be with a new willingness to tackle big civic problems. Let’s turn our attention to climate next, by leaving fossil fuels in the only place they’re safe: the ground.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby