Time to act on climate change is now

May 3, 2022

When we awake each morning to the glorious sun or the rain that is blessing the earth with moisture for plants to grow, it is hard to imagine this cycle of life could change in just a few years. It is hard to realize our earth’s temperatures are slowly escalating to damaging levels that affect human, animal and plant life.

Perhaps you do not believe in climate change, but now that I am in my 80s and have been a gardener for years, I actually see changes in the seasons, growing patterns, ferocity of storms and wildfires. To me, it is a scary time. 

When wildfires raged out of control from California to Oregon in 2021, my cousin’s family lived in a town in a multiple-story apartment building. They had to evacuate as everything around them was burning. Miraculously when they returned, their building was scorched, but spared, and everything around them was damaged or destroyed. Unfortunately, the fires have not ceased and are still burning in hot spots. In our U.S. history, we have never experienced anything like the continual burning of acres of land destroying homes today. 

Tornados are more powerful and destructive than ever. Flooding due to powerful storms is more frequent. Sussex County will be affected by coastal flooding and sea-level rise. Sussex Inland Bays are most vulnerable. We can’t rule out a direct hit from an Atlantic hurricane in the future as they become more frequent and higher intensity. 

There is a thread of hope. Climate change can be halted in the next three years if we act now. At least our environmental groups, which have been alerting us for the past decade, are speaking more boldly and our government is recognizing something needs to be done. 

Greenhouse gas pollutants – methane, carbon, fluorinated gases and nitrous oxide – must reduce their emission into the atmosphere now. Scientists explain that climate action plan modeling could curb emissions 31% by 2025 and 41% by 2035. The Biden administration is striving for GHG goals to be 50% to 52% by 2040 and net zero no later than 2050. The Sierra Club’s goals are 50% by 2030, 70% by 2040, 90% by 2045 and net zero by 2050. Are these goals too slow? 

As we all are aware, government officials are slow to react until they are pushed. If you are as concerned about our climate, write or telephone elected officials. DNREC needs to work with state agencies to review regulatory and fiscal programs to identify and recommend action. You can Google our representatives for contact information – Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, Gov. John Carney and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long (she agrees climate change is a problem).

We have, at most, three years to stabilize our global emissions output in order to meet those targets and stave off the worst outcomes of a potential climate catastrophe. Call the president or email asking him to use his executive power to ramp up production of clean energy technologies and build out renewable energy infrastructure with the stroke of his pen. Through the power of executive order, Biden could boldly steer us in the direction of a greener future while creating millions of good jobs in the process. Together our voices can be heard.

Doris P. Pierce    
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