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It’s time to vote on the climate bill that could save our planet

With midterm elections coming into view, Republicans don’t seem to care about what happens for American’s future.

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Democrats in Congress gave us hope for a better future and a time to be proud of our country at a time when despair seemed unyielding, when gridlock in Washington was the norm, when extreme heat, droughts, and floods wrought suffering, and when global temperatures hit records.

It’s time to celebrate the historic nature of the climate change legislation that was just enacted. The United States is now the undisputed leader in addressing the greatest challenge of our time, thanks to the CHIPS Act and the climate change funding included in the infrastructure bill.

Despite the fact that this historic agenda has laid the groundwork for progress, one that helps protect the planet while fostering sustainable growth, it also faces an army dedicated to undermining it. Remember that Republican backing for the Inflation Reduction Act was zilch, and that their backing for the CHIPS and infrastructure bills was likewise weak.

As a result of global warming, sea levels are rising, the frequency of extreme weather events is on the rise, and threats to staple crops are at an all-time high. As the midterms approach, it is important to keep in mind that the Republican Party doesn’t appear to care about the future of the United States. We must now choose leaders who will.

Thankfully, on November 8th, we will have that chance. Over half of all Republicans in the House and the Senate are at risk because 109 of them do not believe in the science behind climate change. Furthermore, elections for Republican governors, state legislatures, and other elected officials will take place. Nearly two dozen Republican state treasurers are stymieing progress by easing regulations on fossil fuel companies while cracking down on those trying to cut their emissions. When it comes to making investment decisions, some Republicans are criticizing Wall Street for considering environmental risks over the long term.

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Now is the time to make sure the future is safer and better able to withstand the effects of climate change. You should start paying attention to politics now. If we don’t, Republicans will keep denying, blocking, and postponing action on climate change.

The Republican vision for our collective future looks something like this:

With only 12 years left to live, I can expect to see a world where heat waves occur every other year instead of once per century and where the Arctic is melting four times faster than expected, both of which will have an impact on the severity of the weather where I live. Large wildfires are likely to become more common in the Western United States and possibly even the Southeast by the time you reach your late twenties. In just 30 more years, disruptions and flooding will occur ten times more frequently than they do now due to rising sea levels. In the next half-century, millions of people will flock to the North in search of cooler temperatures. And if you were born right now, you’ve got another 80 years to look forward to a world that’s up to 12 degrees Fahrenheit hotter and home to seven times as many instances of extreme weather as a child born in 1960.

The future you have now was approved by Republicans, so thank them for voting for you.

The time has come to take a stand and bring about the political reforms that are necessary for our future and the future of our country. The Republican Party is completely out of touch with the American people. There are more than 70% of us who are worried about the climate changing, 50% who know that it is mostly caused by humans. Moreover, roughly 60% of us believe that addressing climate change should be a top government priority. It’s time to vote in people who can deal with the truth and speak for the majority of Americans.

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You should get yourself registered to vote and familiar with your state’s regulations on voting early, absentee, and by mail before the general election in November. Participate in community service, make financial contributions, and go door-to-door to educate your neighbors, many of whom are probably considering climate change or are climate change deniers. Attempt to win over independent and unaffiliated voters. There is a very long list of possible next steps.

Most of our young people are anxious about the future, which should serve as some inspiration. Now picture the Senate and the House being controlled by the Republicans. Terribly unsettling for everyone here.

They don’t care about your future, and it’s on the line, so it’s time to elect people who will actually protect it.

Mike Hoffmann is an emeritus professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Cornell University and a faculty fellow at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. His latest book, “Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods We Love and Need” (Cornell Press 2021) is the book’s lead author. His TEDx talk was titled “Climate Change: It’s time to raise our voices,” and he also teaches a leadership course on climate change for eCornell.

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