Today, citizens and congressional leaders are rallying to wake up Congress and show support for action on climate change.
People all across the country will call for action on climate change by ringing an alarm at 5 p.m. EST using their cell phone, tablet, or other device, calling their representatives, and tweeting virtual alarms with #SoundtheAlarm4Climate and #ActonClimate. The Safe Climate Caucus in the House of Representatives is one of the sponsors of this call to action.
There is no time to delay. Earlier this month, our nation's leading climate scientists confirmed that climate change is real, is caused by humans, and is already harming communities across America. They concluded that the scientific evidence is "unequivocal."
The impacts are already being felt in every region of the country. A record drought is destroying crops in California. Torrential rains have flooded Florida. Wildfires are getting more intense. Record heat waves are threatening human health. Coastal areas are being inundated as sea levels rise. No sectors of our economy -- from oyster hatcheries on the West Coast to maple syrup producers in New England -- are untouched.
The science is clear: Unless we act now to cut carbon pollution, these impacts will only get worse. No state or community will be spared from climate change. We will all be affected.
And so we are at a crossroads.
One path is to listen to the scientists. We can protect our environment and our communities by curbing carbon pollution from power plants and other big polluters. We can lead the world in developing the clean energy technologies of the future. We can meet our moral obligation to preserve our fragile atmosphere for our children and grandchildren.
The other path is to deny the science and ignore the growing threat of climate change. We can stick our heads in the sand while our coastlines flood, our forests burn, and our crops wither. We can let our competitors dominate the trillion-dollar clean energy market. And we can let our children and grandchildren suffer the devastating effects of uncontrolled climate change.
The choice should be easy. Yet Republicans in Congress refuse to act. Earlier this year, nearly every Republican in the House of Representatives voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting carbon pollution from power plants. They even voted to deny that climate change is real. Pretending the problem doesn't exist won't make it go away.
President Obama has been using his authority under existing laws to cut carbon pollution and transition the United States to a clean energy economy. There's a lot he can do on his own, starting with proposing major reductions in carbon pollution from power plants next month. He can also deny the Keystone XL pipeline and set ambitious science-based targets for post 2020 emission reductions. We should all be supporting his efforts.
But he could do even more with help from Congress, which is why it's so important to sound the alarm today. It's time for congressional Republicans to wake up, stop denying the science, and take action to address climate change.
This post is part of a series from the Safe Climate Caucus. The Caucus is comprised of 38 members of the House of Representatives who have committed to ending the conspiracy of silence in Congress about the dangers of climate change. For more information, visit the Safe Climate Caucus website and like the Safe Climate Caucus on Facebook.
Follow Rep. Henry Waxman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WaxmanClimate