Dealing with Climate Change Without Congressional Action

Is the only way to deal with climate change here in the U.S. through the U.S. congress? The answer to that is of course not, but it certainly would be helpful in sending a strong signal and message to the rest of the world that the U.S. is truly serious about dealing with the issue and has that same level of commitment as many of them do with respect to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Some states like California have certainly taken the initiative and done a lot on addressing climate change without U.S. congressional action. Even more important, however, is a strong grassroots local movement to replace coal fired power plants with the newer generation of green, clean energy solutions.

This new movement to deal with climate change has gained traction recently throughout the U.S. since the state of Delaware, for example, after hearing popular support to replace its existing coal fired power plants with clean energy solutions has come about with NRG Energy agreeing “to provide specialized training for current employees so they could transition to work at the planned offshore wind farm or in other clean energy jobs. This shows we can cut emissions, create jobs, and take care of workers at the same time.” In essence, states like Delaware are showing how climate change can be dealt with at the state and perhaps local level without waiting for or getting permission at the Federal level. What Delaware is showing through its commitment is that a green economy is possible and that unemployment does not necessarily rise because a coal fired power plant shuts down.

Part of the solution is clearly education in terms of showing the public how jobs can be created in the green energy sector and that does not necessarily involve short-term job losses. Delaware's example shows that workers in the fossil fuel sector can simply undergo retraining and start new jobs in the green sector by working on wind farms for example. Therefore, to deal with climate change without congressional action, popular support must be present at the state and local level to get things done. In the case of Delaware, they seem to be making a transition from coal fired power plants to green energy solutions such as wind farms. California has been a leader in the green energy movement for quite some time now and it appears their example may be spreading to other parts of the U.S. Without congressional action, therefore, there should be a movement at the state and local level in the absence of Federal government leadership. Only then, is it likely that the Federal government will step up to the plate.

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