It would be madness to walk away from international climate agreements, but that’s what a Trump presidency would mean. Congressional candidate Justin Fareed, backed by coal and oil money, recently jumped on the climate denial bandwagon, saying at a debate in San Luis Obispo, “There are multiple different factors that contribute to it.”
Scientists, including those at award-winning UCSB and CalPoly, say definitively the climate is changing due to human activity. This year will be the hottest year on record. Weather-related disasters — fires, drought, floods—have more than doubled since 1980, and land-based plants and animals are moving pole-ward at a rate of 15 feet per day.
The 2016 election will determine whether or not we act according to the best scientific information. Will we reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build the clean energy economy of the future? Or will we double down on fossil fuels, hand over our national parks and ocean to private extraction interests, and head down a perilous path of run-away global warming?
First, we must preserve our voluntary national participation in the Paris climate accord by defeating Trump and Fareed and electing Salud Carbajal for Congress. Second, we must maintain climate leadership and resist powerful oil lobbyists at the state level by electing Monique Limón for State Assembly and Hannah-Beth Jackson for State Senate. And finally, we must elect Joan Hartmann for county supervisor, someone who has the academic and policy chops to provide the kind of local environmental leadership we can be proud of. The grave environmental challenges we face are solvable, but only if we vote to do so on November 8.
Katie Davis is chair of the Santa Barbara Sierra Club Group.