Last week, President Trump stood before Congress and failed to mention the greatest threat to our planet—climate change.
Last month was the hottest January in the history of our planet. The last five years were the hottest five years on Earth. Climate change is real, and signs of the climate crisis are all around us.
The world watched in horror as millions of acres of trees burned in Australia’s recent bushfires, killing one billion animals. Rising sea levels, flooding, and other extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and destructive.
That’s why, earlier this week, I introduced the Clean Economy Act with 33 of my Senate colleagues, legislation that would jumpstart government-wide climate action and move our country to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.
The world’s leading scientists have told us that, to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, we need to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Period. To do that, we — all of us here on this planet — need to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by mid-century. But time is running out.
Our bill is the quickest way we can jumpstart government-wide climate action, by empowering agencies to use the tools they already have. The Clean Economy Act empowers EPA to use tools already at its disposal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than mid-century.
Our legislation also sets important guardrails to make sure all Americans reap the benefits as we move the country toward net-zero emissions:
1. EPA must maximize greenhouse gas emissions reductions while minimizing costs to consumers and providing regulatory flexibility to industry.
2. EPA must consider and protect frontline communities, because we know climate change disproportionately affects impoverished and disadvantaged communities, communities of color and indigenous communities.
3. In its net-zero plan, EPA must use American workers, domestic materials and strong labor standards to get the job done – relying on our country’s talents to make the transition to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
The Clean Economy Act will put the United States on a path to once again lead the world in the fight against climate change while lifting up American communities and workers.
In the coming weeks, I will continue encouraging my colleagues to join us in supporting the Clean Economy Act, because our planet can’t wait. It’s time we take on the challenge of addressing the climate crisis and seize the economic opportunity that comes with it.