Preparing for global warming today will reduce damage for tomorrow

On Nov. 1 President Obama issued an executive order calling for the creation of the “Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.”

Roughly a week ago, eight states agreed to craft policies to put 3.3 million zero-emission cars on the road by 2025.

California, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, Maryland, Connecticut, Vermont and Rhode Island signed an agreement on Oct. 24 to promote the sale of electric cars, hydrogen fuel-cell cars and plug-in hybrids.

Replacing government auto fleets with zero-emissions, offering tax incentives to consumers and constructing roadside charging stations are potential steps in their plan.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s task force includes governors, mayors, county officials and tribal leaders from around the country formed to help him advise his administration on how the federal government can prepare communities for severe weather.

“We’re going to need to get prepared.  And that’s why this plan will also protect critical sectors of our economy and prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid,” Obama said last June, when he first launched the Climate Action Plan.

“States and cities across the country are already taking it upon themselves to get ready… And we’ll partner with communities seeking help to prepare for droughts and floods, reduce the risk of wildfires, protect the dunes and wetlands that pull double duty as green space and as natural storm barriers.”

Under the Obama administration the U.S. also recently set federal-limits on new power plant carbon emissions and foreign countries are feeling the pressure to green-up coal projects.

In September, the Environmental Protection Agency introduced new rules limiting carbon emissions of new gas- and coal-fired power plants and requiring them to scrub and capture smokestack emissions, but these rules do not affect existing plants. The EPA is in the process of drafting rules to limit emissions on existing plants.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Oct. 29 it was reducing funding to coal power plants abroad that did not incorporate new carbon-capture standards and also countries that don’t have the resources to meet the new standards.

But even with all of the new changes, the impact of climate change is still a disputed issue especially among Republicans who are likely to challenge it.

A recent Pew Research poll released last Friday shows 25% of Tea Party Republicans agree that global warming is real, leaving the majority skeptical.

That is a sharp contrast to the 61% of non-Tea Party Republicans who do believe there is solid evidence to support the claim global warming is caused by human activity. But, still over a third remain skeptical.

Regardless of the skepticism, the majority of people do believe that global warming is real.  In  my sophomore year of college, during a Geology class, my understanding of the situation developed.

There is no doubt in my mind that global warming should be at the top all of our minds, especially our legislators in Washington D.C. and the president who have an obligation to influence federal dollars spent on water, energy and transportation as well as disaster preparedness and recovery.

If we can take considerations to prepare for climate impact today then we can reduce the damage for tomorrow.