As I spent time with my grandchildren in the beginning of July, I couldn’t help but notice the looming clouds rising over Las Vegas. Only, these clouds didn’t represent a mid-summer desert monsoon. These clouds were smoke. Mount Charleston was burning. The West was burning. It would be days before the fire was contained. And, it's not just in the West where we see more destructive fires. In fact, the National Academy of Sciences has just published a study showing there are more fires burning now in the forests of Alaska than there have been in the last 10,000 years.
Last month, I was proud to co-host the Sixth Annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas with the Center for American Progress, the Clean Energy Project, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. One of the issues we discussed was extreme weather and how clean energy investments can make communities more resilient to such weather. Included in this discussion were Maria LaRosa, Meteorologist with The Weather Channel; Pat Mulroy of the Southern Nevada Water Authority; Dr. Kathryn Sullivan an astronaut and Acting Administrator with the National Oceans and Atmospheric Administration; and Chris Taylor, with the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange. This was a wonderful discussion that brought with it good conversation and innovative ideas to the table.
Unfortunately, too many elected officials in Washington still talk about climate change as if it
doesn’t exist. They falsely claim scientists are still debating whether carbon pollution is warming the planet. It's time for us all whether we're leaders in Washington, members of the media, scientists, academics, environmentalists or utility industry executives to stop acting like those who deny this crisis exists have a valid point of view. They don't. Virtually every respected climate scientist in the world agrees the problem is real, and the time to act is now. Not tomorrow. Not a week from now. Not next month or next year. We must act today.
Contact Harry Reid at http://reid.senate.gov/