Dealing with Climate Change Without Congressional Action
Is the only way to deal with climate change here in the U.S. through the U.S. congress? The answer to that is ofcourse not, but it certainly would be helpful in sending a strong signal and message to the rest of the world that the U.S. is truly seriousabout dealing with the issue and has that same level of commitment asmany of them do with respect to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Some states like California have certainly taken the initiative anddone a lot on addressing climate change without U.S. congressionalaction. Even more important, however, is a strong grassroots localmovement to replace coal fired power plants with the newer generation of green, clean energy solutions.
This new movement to deal with climate change has gained traction recentlythroughout the U.S. since the state of Delaware, for example, afterhearing popular support to replace its existing coal fired power plantswith clean energy solutions has come about with NRG Energy agreeing "toprovide specialized training for current employees so they couldtransition to work at the planned offshore wind farm or in other cleanenergy jobs. This shows we can cut emissions, create jobs,and take care of workers at the same time." In essence, states likeDelaware are showing how climate change can be dealt with at the stateand perhaps local level without waiting for or getting permission at the Federal level. What Delaware is showing through its commitment is that a green economy is possible and that unemployment does not necessarilyrise because a coal fired power plant shuts down.
Part of the solution is clearly education in terms of showing thepublic how jobs can be created in the green energy sector and that doesnot necessarily involve short-term job losses. Delaware’s example showsthat workers in the fossil fuel sector can simply undergo retraining and start new jobs in the green sector by working on wind farms forexample. Therefore, to deal with climate change without congressionalaction, popular support must be present at the state and local level toget things done. In the case of Delaware, they seem to be making atransition from coal fired power plants to green energy solutions suchas wind farms. California has been a leader in the green energy movement for quite some time now and it appears their example may be spreadingto other parts of the U.S. Without congressional action, therefore,there should be a movement at the state and local level in the absenceof Federal government leadership. Only then, is it likely that theFederal government will step up to the plate.
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