Investing in clean energy now will create a better future for our kids

  • 12/14/2021 11:43 am ET


The earth’s temperature has been rising since the Industrial Revolution of the mid-19th century, but the rate has more than doubled in the past 40 years. With this increase in global temperature has come heat waves, droughts, intensified storms, wildfires, and other extreme weather events that affect every aspect of American life.

What the future holds for our country will depend on the action our government takes to confront climate change in the next five years.

Glasgow in the spotlight

As leaders gathered for the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, the world marked the sixth year since the signing of the Paris Climate Accords. This year’s meeting in Glasgow was a wake-up call: across the board, nations have come up short on the climate promises they made in 2015.

As the planet’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, the U.S. must lead the world in combating climate change. But before we can inspire worldwide action, we need to enact immediate change at home.

The time is now

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Individual actions are not enough to take on the global climate crisis. Federal policy is needed to achieve deep, long-term reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The action required of us isn’t simply choosing reusable grocery bags or turning off the tap when brushing our teeth.

The changes America needs to combat climate change are those on a federal, systemic level.

Kids at risk

Research from Harvard University’s school of public health has found that air pollution accounts for 20% of newborn deaths worldwide. 350,000 premature deaths are the result of fossil fuel pollution every year, and thousands more children die prematurely each year from respiratory infections caused by polluted air.

There is no group at greater risk from the effects of the global climate crisis than children. This is because kids’ organs and immune systems are still developing, and they breathe at a faster rate than adults. U.S. kids are at increased risk of exposure to pollutants, reduced air quality, and food insecurity as a result of climate change.

Clean energy potential

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Confronting climate change head-on will not only ensure the health and safety of children but also create a better future for them full of sustainable, jobs. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that more than 750,000 Americans already work in the clean power sector— the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. economy. Clean energy remains the biggest job creator across America’s energy sector, and hourly wages for clean energy jobs also are about 25 percent higher than the national average.

In 2020, the renewable energy growth rate was up 45% worldwide. By continuing to embrace cutting-edge technologies like solar, wind, and hydropower, we will strengthen our economy and create the green jobs of the future. With these actions, the U.S. can resume its place as a global climate leader and ensure a better future for generations of Americans to come.

This article was produced and distributed in partnership with Climate Power.

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