Rep. Ann McLane Kuster: Taking action to combat climate change
I am inspired by the incredible energy and enthusiasm of people across our country – especially young people – who are standing up to demand progress on climate change.
2019 has brought with it troubling reminders of how our climate is changing. The continental United States is on track to have the wettest year ever recorded – from January to August, it has seen more rainfall than ever before during that period.
Last month, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 12.5 billion tons of ice in one day alone. The difficult realities of climate change only become more and more stark every day.
As a member of the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, I am committed to taking action in Congress to protect our climate and planet for our children and future generations.
During the August district work period, I heard from many people across New Hampshire who are concerned about this critical issue. Granite State farmers shared how climate change is already impacting our state’s $1.5 billion agriculture industry.
At the renowned Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest research center and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension office in Lancaster, I spoke with local experts about how New Hampshire’s forests are threatened by the symptoms of climate change – from the rise of invasive species like the emerald ash borer to the loss of snowpack that kept root systems insulated during the winter months.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to visit Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming with other members of Congress to hear from top National Park Service scientists about how climate change will forever alter our iconic public lands. Although separated by 2,000 miles, I was struck by how the climate challenges facing Yellowstone mirror what we face at home in New Hampshire.
In the Granite State, we are already seeing climate change disrupting our way of life – from shorter winters that undermine our snow sports industry to the rise in ticks that are killing our moose population. Unless we act, these situations will only worsen.
That is why I am pleased to help advance critical legislation in the House of Representatives that will address and mitigate the threat to our climate.
Last week, the House passed common-sense legislation to prohibit oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as well as on our coasts along the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The transition to clean, renewable energy is a win-win for our economy and environment; there is no reason to double down on outdated and polluting sources of energy.
Polling data backs this up. More and more Americans are recognizing the tremendous threat of climate change and embracing clean energy policies that will protect our climate and bring new energy jobs to our communities.
We can save our planet, create jobs and reduce costs simultaneously!
In Washington, I am advancing a clean energy agenda to make this goal a reality. That includes the Clean Energy Standard Act. This legislation will push electric companies to bring more clean energy into the grid to help spur our nation’s transition to 100% renewable energy by mid-century. I recently co-sponsored Rep. Peter Welch’s Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which incentivizes the use of energy-efficient technologies that quickly pay for themselves.
When we as consumers have information about how new efficient technologies can reduce our energy use and help our pocketbooks, we make smarter choices. This bill also mandates that the federal government, the single largest consumer of energy in our nation, embrace these common-sense technologies to reduce its energy footprint and save the taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
Congress must lead, and I implore Senate Majority Leader McConnell and President Trump to work with us to save our planet. Climate scientists and clean energy advocates, from New Hampshire to Yellowstone, continue to inspire me and affirm my work to develop solutions in Washington.
It is not too late to take steps to mitigate the impact of climate change, but we must take meaningful action now.
(Ann McLane Kuster represents the 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.)