April 21, 2023

Times of San Diego: Earth Day Is a Yearly Reminder that Congress Must Prioritize Action on Climate Change

As we enter into spring’s warmer weather and celebrate Earth Day, it’s important to recognize all those who work to protect and preserve our environment for future generations and what’s at risk if we don’t take immediate action on climate change.

Our region is home to many natural wonders, from beaches and estuaries to canyons and wildlife, and each year on Earth Day we celebrate and promote environmental awareness and encourage actions to protect our planet. It is a yearly reminder of the importance of safeguarding our natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and combatting climate change; and this annual event has become an urgent reminder that our planet is becoming warmer at a faster pace than ever before.

Opinion logoClimate change continues to be one of the most pressing issues of our time. In California, we are experiencing worsening droughts, heat waves, and rising sea levels. In Del Mar and San Clemente, we’re seeing first-hand how climate change is eroding our coast so quickly that it’s jeopardizing our transportation infrastructure and leading to suspended train service between San Diego and Orange County.

I do not take these issues lightly and am proud of the many investments we have made to combat this existential threat and adapt to climate impacts, particularly through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Last year, Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which is the single largest investment in climate action in our nation’s history, moving our country towards clean energy independence and developing a robust domestic manufacturing base. The legislation invested $370 billion to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, and includes a variety of incentives to lower energy costs through consumer home energy rebate programs, energy efficiency tax credits, and clean vehicle tax credits for middle- and low-income families.

This law also includes provisions I helped lead to protect public lands, unlock financing for clean energy development, and address the unprecedented drought threatening our water supply in Southern California.

Although we have made major investments to combat climate change, some elected officials have pushed measures to undermine bedrock environmental protections that have been in place for many decades, including the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. This Congress, House Republicans brought their top bill, H.R. 1, or the “Polluters over People Act,” to the House floor for consideration. Instead of strengthening environmental laws, this bill makes it easier for polluters to set their standards and lets Big Oil rubberstamp its projects with minimal oversight.

Environmental disasters have become too common, and the Republicans’ legislation would make it easier for future disasters to happen. This act would also worsen the climate crisis by empowering the fossil fuel industry instead of strengthening the foundation for a clean energy future.

During my time as an environmental attorney, I fought to combat climate change and advance clean energy. I will always oppose legislation that threatens our climate and would push us back on environmental action.

Protecting our climate remains one of my top priorities. This Congress, I reintroduced the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act, a bill to help combat the climate crisis and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by promoting the responsible development of wind, solar, and geothermal energy on public lands and ensure taxpayers get a fair share of those investments. We must expand renewable energy development if we are going to adequately reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the worst impacts of this crisis.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass legislation that will benefit the American people and invest in future generations. I am honored to represent one of the most beautiful districts in the United States, but I am well aware that we are at risk of dangerous weather patterns that threaten our livelihoods.

I am going to continue to do everything I can to address the climate crisis and protect our incredible environment in Southern California.

Mike Levin represents the 49th District in north coastal San Diego and south Orange counties.


By:  Rep. Mike Levin
Source: Times of San Diego