by Lisa Cyriacks

CU Boulder will host the first field hearing of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, August 1, 2019. Clean energy transition will be the focus.

Joe Neguse (Representative CD2) on why Boulder, “It is only fitting that we would host the newly empaneled House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis here in Boulder for our very first field hearing to discuss critical state and local efforts to combat the climate crisis.”

First-year Representative Joe Neguse, whose congressional district (CD2) includes Boulder, was one of eight Democrats appointed to the committee in February of this year.

Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District is known as an epicenter for climate change research, home to both renowned research facilities at the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University and federally-funded labs and facilities such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.

Led by Governor Jared Polis and other top Democrats, Colorado enacted several major new climate policies in the 2019 legislative session. “Colorado is on the front lines of bold climate action and green job creation, which is why we are focused on achieving 100% renewable energy by 2040,” says Governor Jared Polis.

Believing that climate stability is the most urgent and challenging policy issue of our time, Colorado legislators have stepped up to pave the way for a clean energy future for Coloradans.

Neguse, a former CU regent who was elected last year to replace Polis in the 2nd Congressional District, is the only member of Colorado’s congressional delegation to have endorsed the Green New Deal, a sweeping proposal for a “ten-year national mobilization” to slash carbon emissions and transition to clean energy.

Earlier in July, Neguse also signed on as a co-sponsor of a separate resolution, also championed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that would formally declare that climate change is a “national emergency.” Senator Bernie Sanders co-sponsored the legislation in the Republican-led Senate.

“There is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes,” the bill’s authors wrote. While it does not call for specific action, the legislation states in sharp terms that climate change is a “human-made problem that threatens the fortunes of millions of Americans and demands immediate political action.”

As millions of people experience some of the hottest days in recent history, scientists say July will likely be the hottest July on record, following the hottest June on record.

The science is in and we know the causes of climate change. Burning fossil fuels and destroying forests are driving the climate crisis. The effects of climate change are harming the people and the places that we love.

Renewable energy is one of the most effective tools we have in the fight against climate change.

Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are making climate damage even worse, precipitating a climate crisis.

Global climate change was first addressed in United States policy beginning in the early 1950s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines climate change as “any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time.” Essentially, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, as well as other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.

Climate change policy in the U.S. has transformed rapidly over the past twenty years and is being developed at both the state and federal level. The politics of global warming and climate change have polarized certain political parties and other organizations.

President Trump has questioned if climate change is real and has indicated that efforts to curb fossil fuel industries hurt the United States’ global competitiveness. Trump has:

• Rolled back regulations placed on the oil and gas industry

• Removed barriers from the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines

• Signed an executive order boosting the coal industry

• Signed an executive order rolling back Obama-era climate regulations on the coal industry

• Called for a review of the Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration policy aimed at combating anthropogenic climate change

In May 2019, the United Nations released a comprehensive report on biodiversity. The alarming news is that over 1 million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction.

“For a long time, people just thought of biodiversity as saving nature for its own sake,” said Robert Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which conducted the assessment at the request of national governments.

“The findings are not just about saving plants and animals, but about preserving a world that’s becoming harder for humans to live in,” said Robert Watson.

Over the past 50 years, global biodiversity loss has primarily been driven by activities like the clearing of forests, the expansion of roads and cities, logging, hunting, overfishing, water pollution and the transport of invasive species around the globe.

Climate science is evolving as perils grow ever more apparent. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (fka Division of Wildlife), Colorado is truly a crossroad of biodiversity that provides a rich environment for abundant and diverse species of wildlife.

Colorado is a unique and special place with its vast prairies, high mountains, deep canyons and numerous river headwaters that provide water for 18 other states. Healthy forests provide cleaner air, recreation, shade, wildlife habitat, and watershed protection.

Sources

The Nature Conservancy: “Four ways nature is fighting back against climate change”

From the High County News Climate Desk: We’re destroying the biodiversity we depend on. From the Mother Jones Climate Desk: If politics dosen’t shape your beliefs about the climate crisis what does?