The National Climate Assessment coming out today shows that climate change exists, is getting worse, and, without substantial policy changes, is expected to lead to far greater tolls on the environment and human life.
Dr. Michael Mann is a climate scientist at Penn State University and author of “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars,” which looks at temperature trends over the past century.
He says a major component of climate change is addiction to fossil fuels.
“The only way that we are going to bring down that cost, that we are going to avert potential catastrophe, is by shifting away fairly dramatically from that addiction. We have to find a transition increasingly toward getting our energy from renewable sources.”
Carol Browner, former EPA administrator, says regulations need to address more existing smokestacks in order to limit the single-biggest source of industrial carbon pollution.
“These are some of the greatest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and there are cost-effective, common-sense things those industries can do to reduce their emissions and that will benefit everyone.”
Mann says meaningful change to combat climate pollution can’t afford to wait.
“The decisions we are making today, with the fossil-fuel burning that we are engaged in this very moment, will have an impact on our climate for decades and even centuries to come. We have to act now.”
Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed first-ever Clean Air Act standards for curbing industrial carbon pollution from new power plants, that will help slow climate change and, in turn, improve public health protections.
Opponents say the rules impose a burden on business in tough economic times. Environmental advocates argue that the regulations don’t go far enough and cover only a small percentage of the power plants in the U.S.