Issue Brief – Climate

“Climate change is happening— 97% of climate scientists across the globe and America’s young people across the aisle agree. The cleanliness of our air and our water, and the way we live our lives is at stake. We are responsible for the safety and security of our future, and we have to act with urgency to address a problem that can affect every aspect of society. But our political system has not addressed the threat of climate change.”

The Problem of Climate Change

The climate is changing and humans are accelerating its changes through our destruction of the environment. The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases we emit have the ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere, so scientists conclude that increasing levels of greenhouse gases cause our planet to warm. This is a global problem that requires global solutions—America can lead that charge.

Refusing to address climate change will cause incredible economic damage, which can include property damage, human health and productivity impacts, disruptions to sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, less reliable energy generation, and global supply chain interruptions. 

Further, climate change is disproportionately impacting indigenous populations and communities of color, as well as low-income communities, which can exacerbate the inequities already facing these communities.

Shared Values on Climate

– Fighting climate change should be technologically-neutral. We should be focused on lowering emissions in whatever way possible, whether that’s investing in technologies that lower emissions in the short term from fossil fuels or investing in renewable energy technologies.

– Actionable solutions should be prioritized above all else. 

– Markets, alongside government intervention, will play a significant role in the national response to climate change

– Communities most impacted by the effects of climate change should be involved in discussions to find solutions.

– Youth leadership is essential in order to drive global solutions to climate change.

Bipartisan Policy Starting Points

– Incentivize and invest in technologies before leaning on mandates.

– Schools should equip students with the knowledge and skills to build a more sustainable world.

– Invest in resiliency programs to support communities already being impacted by climate change.

– Enlist a modern “conservation corp” to employ young people in service to our environment and build empathy for the planet among a generation of Americans.

Authored by:

Benji Backer

Founder & CEO, American Conservation Coalition

Andrew Brennen

Chairperson, Seek Common Ground
Fellow, National Geographic