“We are seeing the things we said would be happening, happening now, in real life. It’s almost surreal,” said Dr. Kathryn Hayhoe, climate scientist and co-author of the National Climate Assessment.

It is a sad commentary that those who refuse to act on climate change substitute passion for science, engaging in a fruitless search for alternative explanations for the rising temperatures we see each year.

When our own state has seen unprecedented wildfires that have taken lives and destroyed property, the time for action on climate change is long past due. Which is why at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 6, people from across the state will gather at the capitol steps in Salem to support the passage of a Clean Energy Jobs Bill in Oregon. It is a bill that will generate revenue to invest in rural communities such as ours — jobs that will pay solid wages, which can support a family.

When the 2018 National Climate Assessment, reviewed by 13 federal agencies, concluded that extreme weather events in the Pacific Northwest will impact our health, infrastructure and resources, the time for action on climate change is long past due.

The Clean Energy Jobs Bill will prioritize investments in rural and impacted communities. It will ensure that this transition to a clean energy economy will make Oregon a leader and serve as a model for other states to follow.

When the four hottest years on record have occurred in the last four years and three new studies show increases in ocean temperatures have been underestimated by 40 percent and a recently released UN report concluded that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 45 percent by 2030 to avoid catastrophic consequences of climate change, it is clear that action on climate change is long past due. The Clean Energy Jobs Bill will put a price on this climate pollution, thereby holding polluters accountable.

When the National Climate Assessment looked to the future for out country, here is what they found: in just 30 years, agricultural productivity will drop to 1980 levels. As for the cost to our economy, by century’s end, the cost of heat related deaths will rise to $141 billion, the cost of sea level rise will be $118 billion and the infrastructure damage $32 billion. With such dramatic consequences, action on climate change is long bast due.

The Clean Energy Jobs Bill promises to be part of the solution. Not only will it stimulate our economy, but we will ask that this legislation reduce climate pollution consistent with the best science. To make sure the bill is effective, meaningful interim targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be set along the way.

The UN report paints a dire picture globally if we continue along our present path. A two degree centigrade rise in temperature means many of the world’s coral reefs could die as soon as 2040. Sea level rise affects 80 million people. We will see a doubling of plants and animals losing half their range.

The urgency of the climate crisis cannot be overstated. The United States accounts for 15 percent of all climate pollution. After pulling out of the Paris Agreement our emissions have increased 2.5 percent this past year.

In Oregon, we have an opportunity to be part of the solution to the climate crisis — a chance to propel the state’s economy to a future befitting the 21st century. We can join ten other states across the country who have committed to reducing their emissions in the fight to address climate change.

At noon on Wednesday, Feb. 6, we will rally at the capital steps — for the climate, for our children and future generations.

Stuart Liebowitz of Roseburg is a member of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition.

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