Senators—We are calling for federal climate action. Now.

San Jose Spotlight

Still reeling from the effects of COVID-19, this month humanity was further rattled by the release of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Summarizing the 4,000-page study, carefully assembled by teams of climate scientists around the world, the UN released a statement that simply said, “This assessment of the latest science is a severe warning regarding the well-being of human society and all life on Earth. It is testimony to the fact that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the past decades have been wholly insufficient.”

For over a century researchers have suspected that we are warming our atmosphere, and for the past 50 years evidence has mounted that the culprit was increased burning of fossil fuels. Since 1965, every U.S. president (with one notable exception) has warned that global warming was a threat to national security, and pledged to curb emissions. But in all these decades no broad-based, systematic action was designed to address this looming crisis.

No surprise that for decades comprehensive federal efforts to reduce carbon consumption have been stymied by fossil fuel companies. Borrowing the playbook from the tobacco industry, they spent millions on propaganda designed to cast doubt on the role of carbon emissions. When, despite their hand waving, further studies showed greenhouse gases to be the cause—and a carbon tax was proposed as the cure—they switched tactics to suggest that individual consumers could restore the climate simply by changing light bulbs and planting trees.