To the editor:
The recent record temperature on the west coast — 116 degrees in Portland, 121 degrees in Canada — even 118 degrees in Siberia — along with the heat wave here and heavy flooding in Michigan, are episodes of increasing extreme weather that are part of the global impact of climate change.
Scientists tell us that we must take drastic action now to cut our dependency on fossil fuels if we are to have a chance to mitigate the worst of these trends.
As President Biden and Congress build the infrastructure package, Republicans and some Democrats have pushed to cut out key programs to fight climate change. I urge U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman to say, “No climate, no deal!”
Climate change will not leave any part of our country unscathed. In New York City, the devastation of Hurricane Sandy is a foretaste of more to come, as hurricanes continue to gain in force from a heating ocean. The rise in ocean levels puts the long-term viability of our city and all coastal habitations in peril.
This is the existential challenge of our time, and we must do all we can.
I want to see Congress include $1 trillion for renewable energy, which we need to meet President Biden’s goal of cutting climate pollution in half by 2030. We also need $500 billion for public transit, and $600 billion for upgrading our public housing and schools with energy efficiency.
With bold investment targeted at our most vulnerable communities, we can create millions of good jobs, and meaningfully curb social inequality and justice.
Democrats have the power in Congress to do this through budget reconciliation. I’ll be watching our New York state members of Congress to see if they follow through.
The author is a steering committee member for Bronx Jews for Climate Action.