Putting Americans back to work by addressing climate change should be a top priority for Congress, but politics have often gotten in the way of solutions that will both create jobs and reduce the carbon pollution causing climate change. If anything, the stark need for our country to take climate change seriously hit home late last year when the East Coast was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. I know I’m not the only one that watched in shock as we saw subways underwater, people without power and heat for weeks on end, and our communications systems falling down when we needed them most.
Climate change — and the extreme weather like “super storms” and droughts that it will increasingly cause — is a huge problem for our country. It’s also an opportunity. Addressing climate change is a key component of any plan to keep our economy on track and get us back to full employment.
Since Congress failed to take a bold step forward on climate change through comprehensive legislation in 2010, there’s been a void in the national dialogue on climate change. However, issues brought up in the presidential campaign and since Hurricane Sandy have piqued public interest again on addressing climate change. Now it’s time for our leaders in Congress (and in the new Congress) to bridge the divide, and take a serious look again at tackling the effects of climate change in a way that can also put people back to work and benefit the economy.
Warming temperatures, rising water levels, wildfires and tragically, the toll of hurricane season, have all contributed to bringing us to where we’re at now: we simply cannot ignore another opportunity to engage as a nation in confronting the staggering costs of climate change.
David Foster is the Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. From 1989-2006, Dave served as Director of the United Steelworkers District 11, a thirteen-state region spanning from Minnesota to Washington State and Alaska. For the past 20 years, Dave has been among the labor movement’s leading environmental advocates.
Please check back shortly for Dave’s first post.