Climate Change, Here and Now

President Obama vowed action on climate change in his historic inaugural speech warning that “the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Here’s how to make the case for why and how we can tackle one the most pressing challenges facing humanity.

 

Lead with Common Sense and Values

  • There’s no longer any doubt we have a serious problem. Climate disruption is happening right here, right now; and it’s making weather disasters and record-breaking heat waves worse.
  • If we want to protect our kids and grandkids, we have to deal with climate change before it gets out of control. Anyone who doubts whether we’re up to the task is ignoring what America is capable of.
  • American businesses are starting to use the amazing energy technologies that our engineers have developed — including panels that harness power from the sun and turbines that capture energy from the wind.
  • We need to speed up the use of these technologies and spur more innovation. America should be leading the world in clean energy solutions, not getting left behind by Europe and China.

 

Demand Accountability           

  • Dirty energy companies are holding back progress to protect their profits.  Oil and coal companies pay off politicians to protect wasteful taxpayer subsidies and keep out the competition by blocking clean energy innovation.
  • They keep our political system rigged by spending millions to influence our elections, lobby politicians, and spread doubts about accepted science that hurts their bottom line.
  • It’s time to break Big Oil’s grip on Washington and put people instead of corporations back in charge of our democracy. So when our grandchildren ask us what we did on climate change, what do you want your answer to be?

 

Facts and Figures You Should Know

  • 2012 was the hottest year on record in the United States ever— by a lot. Last year’s temperature average demolished the previous record by a full degree Fahrenheit. (Remember that with people, even a few degrees increase in body temperature can kill a patient.)
  • Globally, the 10 warmest years on record all happened in the past 15 years. Nobody who is younger than 28 has ever experienced a colder-than-average month because the last such month was February 1985.
  • Scientifically, we know for certain that carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is the highest it’s been in at least 650,000 years overall and at least 800,000 years in some regions.
  • Over the past three decades, weather disasters have caused more than $1 trillion in damage and 30,000 fatalities in North America alone.
  • Nearly 90% of Americans agree the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs. 

 

For more information on climate change and to see the full Message Matters memo, click here.

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