FACT ONE: Extreme weather events are occurring more frequently due to climate change. Earth is the warmest since 1880’s and possibly in 120,000 years.
Climate scientists agree that greenhouse gases such as CO2, Methane, and CFCs are the leading cause of climate change.1 Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere causing global warming and extreme weather events.2 Scientists at NASA reported that the Earth’s global surface temperatures for the past three years were the highest on record and more than 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degree Fahrenheit) above late nineteenth-century levels.3,4 Two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will cause disruptions to the food supply and several feet of sea-level rise, devastating millions living in coastal areas.5 Paleoclimatologists have determined that today’s temperatures are likely the warmest since the Eemian geologic period 120,000 years ago when much of the earth was under 30 feet of water from melted ice sheets.6 Countries around the world set targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions at the Paris Climate Accord.7 The U.S. is the only country no longer signed on to the pact, after Syria and Nicaragua signed on in late 2017.8 As yet another extreme weather event devastates the Eastern seaboard, as the West is engulfed in epic wildfires, and as the Arctic suffers from 45 degrees Fahrenheit above normal temperatures this year (increasing the risk of melted icecaps and devastating sea level rise),9 the Republicans continue their reckless path of environmental denial by withdrawing from the Paris Climate accord and propping up the fossil-fuel industry, the leading cause of greenhouse gases.10,11 Democrats know that we must take steps to reduce greenhouse gases today or we will face even more disastrous consequences.
FACT TWO: Republicans roll back environmental protections with devastating effects.
Despite the studies that show that environmental regulations on the whole are good for the economy and have benefits that far exceed costs by preventing illness and death from dangerous pollution,12 the Republicans have waged a war on environmental protections. Over 76 environmental protections have been rolled back at the federal level since 2016 and even more in numerous Republican-controlled states, resulting in devastating impacts.13,14 Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott abolished the Florida Energy and Climate Commission and unofficially barred use of the term “climate change” while Florida’s coastal communities already experience chronic inundation from sea level rise.15 Florida is experiencing its worst toxic red and green algae blooms, destroying the state’s tourism industry and making residents sick.16 The Republicans in the Florida legislature have reduced regulations on agriculture and the sugar industries, whose waste products are feeding the algae. Democrats know that reasonable environmental regulations are critical to protect and maintain a healthy planet.
FACT THREE: Democrats support renewable energy and alternative fuels.
A study, published by the Environmental Defense Fund, says that the solar and wind industries are each creating jobs at a rate 12 times faster than that of the rest of the U.S. economy.17,18 The US Energy Department reported that employment in the solar industry grew 24.5 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year, resulting in a workforce of nearly 374,000 people. In addition, the US wind energy sector employed more than 100,000 in the US at the end of 2017. In comparison, employment in traditional fossil fuel industries such as gas and oil, was at 187,000.19 Sustainability jobs now account for 4-4.5 million jobs in the U.S., up from 3.4 million in 2011.20 These jobs pay above average wages and cannot be outsourced. Democrats recognize that investing in renewable energy and sustainability is good for the economy and good for the planet.
WHERE WE GOT THESE FACTS