Gov. Cooper Telling Congress NC Can’t Fight Climate Alone
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is in Washington today urging members of Congress to bring the same intensity and determination they showed in helping his state recover from recent natural disasters to curbing climate change.
Governor Cooper was invited, along with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and various advocates, to testify before the House Natural Resources Committee about climate change impacts and the need to act. Living in North Carolina, as I do, unfortunately we know all too well how immediate action to address climate change is critical.
As Gov. Cooper has discussed repeatedly, the state has experienced two so-called 500-year storms in the last two years, and three over the last twenty years. We are still reeling from the impacts of Hurricanes Matthew and Florence on the eastern parts of the state, while the western part of state is facing more frequent forest fires.
However the state is not sitting idly, the Governor’s Executive Order 80 accelerates the efforts to address climate change and transition to a clean energy economy in North Carolina. Significantly, the order requires a forty percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2025. It created the state’s Climate Council which will meet for the second time on February 19th to discuss progress to date. Additionally, in early March we expect the first of six stakeholder meetings that will help create the plan to achieve the ambitious goals set by the order.
As the latest data from the recently release Fourth National Climate Assessment shows, the longer we delay action on climate change, the harder and more expensive it will be to achieve acceptable results. In North Carolina, we have begun to experience dangerous impacts of climate change and we are finally seeing support for immediate action from across the political spectrum. It has emboldened our state leadership to take action locally and to push for federal action.
Governor Cooper’s right: We need federal action to cut greenhouse gas emissions across our country that are driving climate change, and federal support for global action to reduce its threats worldwide. We can’t just keep cleaning up the mess after climate impacts hit our states and country. We need to clean up what’s causing them. Our families, towns and economy need to be better protected, and Washington needs to do its part to make that happen.