Climate – Back in the Conversation?

Is climate change finally back in the conversation? Last week climate was a key theme in many political conversations within the Administration and on the Hill. In President Obama’s inauguration speech, climate was front and center.

“Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.”

It is about time that the Administration started to get serious about climate change. Superstorm Sandy and the other extreme events we experienced this past year are the canary in the coal mine – illustrating for us what future events we can expect.

While we aren’t hearing any specifics at this time, the President’s remarks resonated with me and many other Americans around the country, telling us that it is time to buckle down.

President Obama wasn’t the only member of the Administration touting the climate change message. Last Thursday during Senator Kerry’s confirmation hearing for Secretary of State, he pledged to make climate change a top priority. It is critical that work on climate change happens at every level – local, state, federal and international, as the impacts of climate change will affect all of us.

Additionally, Members of Congress are also stepping up their game. Senator Reid (NV) introduced a bill, Extreme Weather Prevention and Resilience Act (S. 7) to help improve the resilience of the United States to extreme weather events and to prevent the worsening of extreme weather conditions.

Congressman Waxman and Senator Whitehouse are also making their voices heard on the Hill with the establishment of the bi-cameral Congressional Climate Change Task Force. It is dedicated to focusing Congressional and public attention on climate change and developing effective policy responses.

I am hopeful that this movement on the Hill and within the Administration will reinvigorate the federal government’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In the wake of ever more devastating storms, lengthening droughts and catastrophic wildfires, inaction is no longer an option.