Op-Ed: Climate Change, Only Our Most Recent Global Challenge        

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Rep. Peter Somssich   

   By Rep. Peter Somssich                             

Yes, Climate Change is our most recent global challenge.  However, for more than 70 years the world has been living with an even more devastating climate threat: nuclear weapons. These weapons if launched accidentally or on purpose would change our global climate to a nuclear winter. They are on trigger-alert status and can change our climate in 10 days, not 10 years.

But the threat from climate change is real and it is an urgent environmental challenge.  Previous generations of citizens and scientists have made significant contributions to protect our health and the environment that we all currently benefit from.                                                                                              Some of the contributions in the period from 1970 to 2015 are worth remembering:

–         1970 First Earth Day- official recognition promoted by Sen. Gaylord Nelson

–         1970 Establishment of the EPA, by President Nixon

–         1970 Clean Air Act, protection of air from pollutants

–         1972 Clean Water Act, protection of waterways and drinking water sources

–         1972 Ban on DDT, stopping use of pesticide linked to cancer and harm to environment

–         1975 CAFÉ’ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for fuel efficiency of cars

–         1978 Ban on Lead Paint, linked to brain damage

–         1973-1980s Ban on Leaded Gasoline, linked to adverse health effects

–         1987 Montreal Protocol, banning the use of CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) which were causing depletion of Ozone layer (protecting us from cancer-causing UV radiation), that Ozone hole finally closed in 2021

–         1995 EPA rules introduce acid rain reduction trading in Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) allowances

–         2010-2015 CAFÉ’ standard strengthened, further reducing vehicle pollution

–         2015 Paris Climate Agreement, attempting to unite the globe to combat ongoing climate changes

These are significant environmental improvements and protections that many countries are now copying. Environmental protection used to be a bipartisan issue.  We should not allow the difficult challenges of Climate Change to stop us from continuing to unite the global community and all political parties behind this new challenge of our generation. And we should also reduce the nuclear threat on our global human community and the climate by removing nuclear weapons from trigger alert status.    

Rep. Peter Somssich                                                                                                               Member House Science Technology & Energy Committee                                                                                      

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