OPINION: Earth Day and climate change

April 19, 2017 By State Sen. Kevin Parker For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Kevin Parker. Photo courtesy of Sen. Parker’s office
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It took just 68 days for former President Barack Obama’s policies to help combat against the effects of climate change to be undone … Sixty-eight days. This was accomplished by the stroke of a pen as President Donald Trump signed an executive order, effectively destroying the Obama administration’s policies to fight climate change by reducing the amount of carbon emissions that contributes to air pollution. The pressure is mounting to give in, but now is the time to fight back.

Five years ago, I watched the great state of New York pick up the pieces from a devastating hurricane. Sandy exacted damage on families physically and emotionally — destroying homes and memories all at once. For this reason, we cannot be bystanders in this fight as the evidence is overwhelming.  Last year was the hottest year on the planet, and Mother Earth will continue to be damaged unless we act now.

Under the Climate Action Plan created by President Obama, the U.S. would take steps to decrease the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country. As seen in the figure below, under the Climate Action Plan, GHG emissions would continue to keep falling.

In 2009, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) determined that GHG pollution threatened American health and welfare.  The Clean Power Plan (CPP) was created to combat these issues, and its positive effects include a decrease in:


        3,600 premature deaths

        1,700 heart attacks

        90,000 asthma attacks

       300,000 missed workdays and school days


As Earth Day 2017 is upon us, we need to stand up against President Trump’s destructive policies that favor deregulation. His policies against reducing GHG emissions undermine the attempt to protect our future generations’ health, clean air and overall livelihood. Research conducted over the past 30 years proves that air pollution has detrimental effects on the health of all people, yet President Trump is still willing to ignore the facts. His executive order also dismisses mitigation efforts to combat natural disasters such as severe flooding and heat waves. If we do not stand and fight, generations to come will pay the price. 

Earth Day 2017’s campaign is environmental and climate literacy, and our president is ignoring the reality of climate change and it comes at the expense of our home — Mother Earth.  His new policies discourage innovative ideas for clean air, and different methods of creating renewable energy. The time to fight back is now while the EPA is developing its plan to replace the Clean Power Plan. We have no time to waste. The current president may disregard the effects of climate change, but we know as human beings that we have a moral obligation to protect our environment for future generations. The time to join the fight is NOW!

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Sen. Parker is a Democrat serving the neighborhoods of Park Slope, Flatbush, Ditmas Park, East Flatbush and Flatlands.


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