Last night an unprecedented number of climate contrarians were swept into office. How did we get to such a place where attacking scientists and their work is not only acceptable, but helps win elections? And more importantly, what is UCS going to do about it?First, we must acknowledge that these people didn’t get into office on their own. They are backed by big oil, the coal industry, and electric utilities—opponents who have deep pockets and a singular goal of protecting their own interests. UCS is going to continue to expose these polluting industries and their cronies who knowingly mislead the public about climate science. And we’re going to challenge them to get their facts straight. Because when it comes right down to it, the public’s confidence in science and scientists remains high. In fact, just last night in California we saw a tangible example of science trumping industry spin, when voters thwarted an aggressive attempt by out-of-state oil companies to kill the state’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act. It’s examples like this that give me hope and remind me that we can—and will—still achieve concrete victories. The truth of the matter is that it’s been difficult to move Congress for months. The people who are supposed to be representing our interests in the nation’s capitol have been too busy carrying water for narrow corporate interests rather than coming together to make real, positive change. So we’re moving forward, with them or without them. As the victory in California yesterday reminds us, there are plenty of other ways to effect change on the issues you and I care about. In the coming months, UCS will:
- Defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to reduce power plant, transportation, industrial, and agricultural global warming emissions;
- Push state utility commissions to shut down the oldest and dirtiest coal power plants;
- Pressure the administration to further boost fuel economy for cars and trucks and decrease tailpipe pollution, and cut our nation’s oil use in half by 2030;
- Advocate for strong, science-based state and regional climate programs that can reduce heat-trapping emissions at the local level;
- Bring agricultural experts and scientists together with government officials to build support for scientifically sound, forward-thinking farming practices that can improve our air, water, and climate; and
- Reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security policy, further reduce their numbers, and prevent the development of new weapons.
No matter what changes happen in Washington, D.C., UCS will continue to do what we do best: develop and advance science-based solutions to major environmental and security issues.I am deeply grateful for your support of our work and look forward to tackling the challenges we have ahead of us together!
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