NASA data shows our last decade was the warmest since records began in the late 19th century. I believe this is a sign of times to come, and immediate action is required to save humanity and our planet.
In Montana, 50 years of evidence indicates rising temperatures foster up to a 40 percent decline in our springtime snowpack. Our springtime peak river-flows now come an average of two weeks earlier. Warming annual temperatures play a principal role in the death of forests from bark beetle infestations. Scientists report links between climate change and the frequency and severity of wildfires in the northern Rockies.
The world looks to the United States for leadership. Here are a few big hitters we can address:
1. Limiting access to fertilizers and other farm chemicals would significantly reduce power consumption by reducing their manufacture capacity, and by causing a major shift toward localized, healthful, organic food and livestock production.
2. Modernizing and expanding our train system will go a long way toward reducing our energy consumption. Trains consume far less energy to transport an equivalent load by trucks, planes and cars.
3. Investing in renewable energy would generate more than three times more jobs than equivalent investment in the fossil fuel industry.
4. Comprehensive climate and energy policies could save businesses nearly $130 billion a year by 2030.
Failure to take action on climate change will have drastic impacts on American families who depend on farming, with a repeat of the Dust Bowl and famine years of the 1930s. A world wracked by drought and famine would be disastrous.
I urge Sens. Baucus and Tester to support passage of comprehensive climate and renewable energy legislation this year.