Please Help ZNet
California is burning. Oregon is burning. Greece is burning. Siberia is burning. One of the most powerful hurricanes ever made landfall in the Gulf Coast just days ago. There is horrific drought impacting countries throughout the world. And July was the hottest month ever recorded.
Let me say that again. We just experienced the hottest month EVER in the history of the planet.
Now I have never understood how some of my colleagues can look at these events — how they can look at the floods, the rising sea levels, the extreme weather disturbances, the drought, the disease, and the human suffering brought upon us by climate change — and decide that the right answer is to do nothing.
I have never understood how many of the same people can say that it’s too expensive to deal with this issue when economists tell us that the cost of not acting on climate change will total $34.5 trillion in the United States alone in lost economic activity and more than $100 trillion throughout the world by the end of the century.
I have never understood how many of the same people who moan and groan about immigration can choose to do nothing when the World Bank has told us that the effects of climate change could result in the mass migration and displacement of more than 140 million people in Latin America, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
The bad news is that it was a set of human decisions that has gotten us to this point.
The good news is that we can now make the decision to act aggressively in combating climate change and prevent irreparable damage to our country and the planet.
As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, I am proud to tell you that we are putting forward a $3.5 trillion reconciliation budget that will be transformative for working families, children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. It will, in my view, be the most consequential legislation for working families in the modern history of our country.
But what I also want you to know is that this Reconciliation Bill constitutes the most aggressive effort ever to combat climate change. It will make massive investments in energy efficiency and retrofitting homes and buildings, it will help transform our energy systems from fossil fuels to wind, solar and other forms of sustainable energy, it will cut carbon emissions in agriculture, it will move us boldly to the electrification of transportation, it will invest heavily in climate justice — and much more.
And let me tell you what else it will do. It will create a Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) — which will put hundreds of thousands of young Americans to work transforming our communities, energy systems, and lands — moving us towards a new, healthy green economy.
At a time when many young people are struggling economically and have the dubious distinction of facing a lower standard of living than their parents, not only will the Civilian Climate Corps provide its members with livable wages and health care, but they will receive substantial educational benefits to enable them to attend college or pay off student debt.
Further, the Civilian Climate Corps will enable young people to receive the job training they need to obtain the many good-paying union jobs in our country that are currently unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers, and will form the backbone of a new American economy that leads the world in clean, green industries. Corps members will learn skills to allow them to pursue meaningful careers after they complete their tenure in the Civilian Climate Corps.
Young corps members will help save the planet by helping to protect and improve our forests, weatherize and electrify housing or be part of a team preparing for and installing a community solar facility. They will be involved in natural climate resiliency improvements, like shoreline and wetlands restoration that protect against rising seas, or environmental remediation that cuts toxic pollution. They will be helping to build new, energy-efficient housing units to combat our housing and climate crisis and improving dilapidated schools.
There is an enormous amount of work to be done as we transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and cut carbon emissions, and the hundreds of thousands of members of the Civilian Climate Corps will be in the forefront of that struggle.
There is a lot of support in Congress for the Civilian Climate Corps, but it is far from unanimous. We need your help.