With a new report suggesting that world leaders have just over a decade left to address climate change, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, pledged Thursday to make environmental policy a top issue for mid-term voters.
Markey, a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s decisions to exit the Paris Climate Agreement, roll back fuel economy emission standards and replace the 2015 Clean Power Plan, joined fellow lawmakers and environmental advocates in a conference call highlighting how they believe Washington should respond to the issue.
Pointing to a new United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which found that the Earth could reach a temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030 — warming which scientists said could trigger extreme droughts, wildfires, floods and food shortages — the senator further stressed his commitment to raising the issue ahead of the Nov. 6 election.
Markey, who called the findings “the most alarming report to date on how our planet is dangerously warming,” said it should encourage everyone to act, including the White house — particularly as Hurricane Michael ravages Florida and other southern states.
Even if President Donald Trump and Republicans continue “turning a blind eye” to the issue of climate change, however, American voters are unlikely to do the same, the senator contended.
“When you put this kind of information into the hands of the American voters, it will quickly turn into a super-charged, pro-climate political storm at the ballot box. And that is what we are about to see this November,” he said during a conference call with reporters. “This report makes clear that we don’t have anymore time for climate deniers to occupy positions of power in our government.”
Offering that most Americans support wind and solar energy, clean air and water, electric vehicles and science, Markey offered that the election results will reflect that.
“This issue is on the ballot. People are going to vote on it — young people especially. And so, we’re ready for this election. We’re ready for a referendum on whether or not we should take action to create millions of new jobs in an effort to save all of creation,” he said.
Markey stressed that if Democrats win back control of Congress, they could stand up to the Trump administration on climate change by passing legislation aimed at increasing renewable energy options and lowering emissions, among other things.
The senator said he’s “very confident” the party will be able to make a difference on the issue, pending the results of the November election.
“Ultimately we can put a brake on all of the dangerous climate rollbacks that the president is engaged in and that would be a fundamental difference from today,” he said. “That’s why these elections are so important.”
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat who joined Markey for the call meanwhile, stressed that Trump “doesn’t speak for what America needs to do in regards to its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to show our international leadership.”
“We do join our colleagues around the world to say that the United States will be there. We’re committed in Congress to taking the necessary steps in order to meet our obligations,” he said.