Climate change is no longer a far-off peril, it’s here and now. From Hurricane Sandy on the U.S. east coast to the horrific Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, from rising seas to widespread droughts, wildfires, floods and famine, climate change is taking a growing and grievous toll on our families, communities and financial security. The costs of climate change are high while the solutions are affordable and doable. Yet the fossil fuel interests that are driving climate change are still so entrenched that it will take a strong public outcry to push the political will towards action.
The public is letting its voice be heard. On September 21, NRDC will join hundreds of thousands of people, from all walks of life and dozens of countries in the largest ever climate march to demand strong action now. Gathering in New York City and with solidarity marches around the world, people are joining together because they know that climate action needs every voice. The gathering for the march will show that climate change is more than an environmental issue: it’s a justice issue, it’s a public health issue, it’s a community issue, it’s a family issue, it’s a food security issue, it’s a national security issue, and it’s a jobs issue.
The march will send a strong message to the United Nations Climate Summit taking place just days later. The Summit is an opportunity for leaders to commit to the kind of action that will change the destructive path of climate change, moving us from dirty to clean energy.
We can’t keep delaying action on climate change. It has been nearly fifty years since a report in the Johnson Administration warned of carbon pollution. Just this year, scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Climate Assessment warned that the world is rapidly warming and already causing havoc in our climate. They’ve sent a clear message: dire consequences for our health, food supply, economies and environment are in store if we continue to kick the can down the road.
We are almost out of time to curb the worst impacts of climate change, but we are not out of solutions.
We have a huge opportunity to grow our economies and speed the transition to a clean energy future. We can create millions of good jobs in the United States and worldwide even as we strengthen our communities and protect our health. In fact, the new international “New Climate Economy” report shows that the barrier to fighting climate change is not financial, but one of political will.
Political will can be changed if enough of us come together and speak up. The United States, the second largest carbon polluting country, has begun to show much needed leadership with improved vehicle fuel efficiency standards that will save money and clean up the air, and the first-ever limits on dangerous carbon pollution from our largest source, power plants. Yet in the United States and around the world we need even stronger steps to curb our dependence on fossil fuels and move ahead rapidly with solutions such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and transportation electrification. Our leaders need to stop the extraction of ever dirtier forms of fuel such as tar sands and their infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. We need to stop ever more costly and risky extraction from places such as deepwater sites or the Arctic. We need to stop granting subsidies for fossil fuels – something that many of our governments have committed to do but have yet to put into practice.
We need much bolder action and accountability in the United States and around the world. Join us at the Peoples Climate March and raise your voices. Our leaders need to hear loud and clear that the time for talking about climate change as something to solve in the future has passed. The time for taking decisive action to protect ourselves, our children and future generations is now.