I wish all of you out there on the internet a wonder-filled Earth Day!
This year’s celebration is particularly momentous because leaders from 171 countries have reconvened in New York City to sign the Paris Climate Accord drafted in the contentious December 2015 UN Climate Change Conference. The Accord will go into effect after at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their documentation of governmental ratification or acceptance with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Let’s keep our fingers crossed! The USA is a key player, as we pump roughly 17% of the world’s man-made carbon into the air each year. I’m slightly more optimistic than usual that our Senate will ratify the accord after they passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act two days ago, on April 20. 82 senators voted YEA and only 12 voted NAY, which shows that the political will to thoughtfully consider the future of our energy resources is out there.
I was especially thrilled that the Land and Water Conservation Fund got reauthorized and a new fund was set up to cover much-needed maintenance at national parks- both harness a tax on fossil fuel production to support some of my favorite wild places. Maintaining recreational access to pristine public land not only recruits new generations of earth-loving environmentalists, but protects our country’s water resources and biodiversity. It’s a win-win situation.