Climate change is an inescapable fact of life. For centuries carbon dioxide levels stayed below 300 parts per million. Starting in 1950 the level of carbon dioxide started to rise significantly. Our C02 levels are currently at 400 parts per million. Humans have caused the level of C02 to rise by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. We are already witnessing the effects of this unprecedented rise in CO2. Global temperatures have risen 2 degrees since the 19th century. Most of the warming has occurred during the last 16 years. Oceans are warming and ice sheets have lost 36-60 cubic miles per year between 2002 and 2006. Glaciers are retreating and snowcaps are melting. Global sea level rise has risen by 16 inches during the last two decades. Arctic sea ice is declining.
We witness more and more extreme weather events every season and every year. Hurricanes are stronger with more storm surge and weather is frankly wacky with 3 Nor’Easters in a row close to the first day of spring and 80 degree temperatures in the middle of February in Tennessee. Record high temperatures are on the rise and record low temperatures are on the decline. When temperatures don’t get low enough, bugs and diseases take over and we can witness events like the decline of pine trees. With so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, oceans start absorbing it too and become acidified. We have started losing diversity in our oceans due to warming waters and water acidification.
If we don’t change our current use of greenhouse gases, we will start to see entire coastal cities being absorbed by rising sea levels. The arctic will become ice free and we will lose countless animals such as polar bears, seals, and penguins. Hurricanes will become stronger and more intense. We will experience more droughts and heat waves. Temperatures will continue to rise. We will see frost-free seasons and changes in precipitation patterns.
Act Locally to Save Globally = Green Cities for a Green World
If we can commit to small changes district by district in this great nation of ours, we can be part of the solution to stop global warming in its tracks. As your House Representative, I will work to bring climate friendly businesses to our area. I will work to find incentives so more residents can afford to install and use solar panels to power their homes. I will look for more housing opportunities for our area that include mixed use models so that residents can walk to work, school, and shopping. An expansion of greenways, bike lanes, and sidewalks along with traffic calming measures can help promote walking and riding bikes instead of driving. I will work to promote a tax on carbon that will create incentives for more fuel-efficient vehicles and more affordable smart cars and electric cars. I will promote community gardens and work with the restaurant community and grocery stores to ensure more local farmers see their products used in restaurants and grocery stores. I will work to equip schools with recycling and compost bins to reduce waste. Let’s show our children and grandchildren that we can make a difference in the climate change battle!