We are no longer preparing for the distant threats of climate change that will arrive tomorrow. Today, flooded neighborhoods, warming oceans, drowned farms and scorched forests show the consequences of our failure to act. Our families and communities will continue to bear this burden until their government adequately — and aggressively — responds. Until we do, everchanging flood maps will erode home values for working families, disaster relief will bankrupt city and town budgets, fishermen and farmers will lose jobs and livelihoods, and our government’s inaction will mortgage not only our environmental future, but our economic wellbeing.
The Paris Climate Agreement was a high mark in our fight. The world came together to confront a challenge of our own making that threatens the health and safety of us all. By abandoning the accords, President Trump ceded our seat at the table and the mantle of American leadership. As this Administration ignores the consequences of climate change within our shores, it has brought famine to countries around the world and exacerbated a refugee crisis that has left millions homeless and terrified.
Congress must respond. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I have pushed to re-instate the Paris Agreement and fought against the Trump Administration’s efforts to further weaken environmental regulations that protect our clean air, water and land. I proudly support maintaining the Clean Power Plan’s protection and reject President Trump’s efforts to dismantle it. With greenhouse gases steadily rising in recent years, I am a cosponsor of legislation to codify the rules that have guided our nation’s efforts to limit and aggressively reduce emissions.
Of course, it’s not enough to only reduce existing emissions and our current carbon footprint. We must actively be working towards a clean energy future. That means aggressive federal investment in renewable energy sources to develop these critical resources and ensure we have the technology to deliver them in cost-effective ways to consumers. This also means over-due reform of existing energy infrastructure and markets, particularly in New England where we have one of the most antiquated energy infrastructures in the country. Fixing and modernizing that system has been a cornerstone of my efforts in Congress thus far, where I have worked to ensure that consumers have a greater voice in the rate-setting process and that our energy markets are actively inventing the development of reliable, affordable, renewable energy options.
The Fourth District — and the South Coast in particular — has a wealth of opportunity in this regard. Areas off the coast of New England could generate well over 2,000 megawatts of wind energy, powering nearly 600,000 homes and supporting nearly 10,000 local jobs. With robust investment from both the state and federal governments, as well as the private sector, we can create a strong path from education to employment in our region while helping shift us away from a dependence on natural gas and other fossil fuels. The entire Blue economy — from wind energy to fisheries to marine science and management — is an essential pillar of our Commonwealths efforts to lead on climate change.
We cannot wait another day to fight back against climate change. In the absence of action from our government, our local communities have stepped forward to defend our environment, economy, health care and national security. But Congress cannot continue to turn a blind eye to climate change and science while our cities and towns pay the price.