TWC Talk: Bob Deans of National Resource Defense Council Diagnoses Climate Change
President Trump’s new budget proposal calls for significant cuts in domestic federal spending, including a one-fourth reduction of the EPA’s budget. Bob Deans, Associate Director of Communications at the National Resource Defense Council, recently spoke at the Washington Center.
2016 was the hottest year since global record keeping began in 1880. Nineteen of the twenty hottest years occurred in the last twenty years. This trend is producing many negative outcomes, including rising sea levels, widening deserts, and raging forest fires.
The repercussions are significant. Scientists predict that sea levels will rise three to nine feet between now and the end of the century. This would result in the Everglades and New Orleans being underwater. Millions of people would be displaced and millions of dollars of property damage would occur.
1. Decrease consumption of oil
Carbon dioxide levels have increased 43 percent in the last century. Carbon dioxide is a long lasting greenhouse gas that has literally changed the climate.
America has successfully decreased dependence on foreign oil, but domestic oil production has doubled under President Obama to 12.5 million barrels a day. This amount could fill the Empire State Building twice.
The fossil fuel industry is the most wealthy and politically entrenched lobbying group in American history. They have 500 lobbyists in DC right now representing their interests. Others need to stand up for the rest of us.
There is nothing wrong with making profits, but if profits are predicated on polluting air and water, while endangering public health, this business and energy model needs to change. Americans must hold elected officeholders accountable for what they do, don’t do, and need to do.
2. Oppose Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA
Secretary Pruitt thinks climate change is an unsettled issue. This is troubling and should be troubling to everyone, irrespective of politics. President Trump has stated that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese, but also stated that climate change is real and impacts his golf courses.
97 percent of climate scientists concluded climate change is real. If ninety seven doctors told someone they had a broken ankle, and three didn’t, the person would get a cast. You don’t have to be a doctor or a scientist to see the sense in that.
Climate change has unfortunately been politicized. There is a long history of bipartisan cooperation including Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Richard Nixon, Theodore Roosevelt, and many others. Two generations of bipartisan environmental protection is now in jeopardy.
The Paris Treaty demonstrated how climate change is a global problem that needs a global solution. The good news is that America is already shifting to a cleaner energy future and the rest of the world is on board.
3. Transition fossil fuel jobs & invest in clean energy
Wyoming is the largest coal producing state. Related jobs are highly mechanized, making them easily transferable to other industries like clean energy or construction.
The wind and sun now produce six percent of American energy. This can reach thirty percent by 2030 and eighty percent by 2050.
Environmental protection is not a “job killer.” 2.4 million people currently work in the clean energy economy. This is already more than the fossil fuel industry.
4. Eat less meat
The meat industry puts lots of methane into the air and massively consumes major resources, including energy and water. Americans should think of meat as a luxury item. Eating just slightly less meat would constitute a significant contribution.