From rising temperatures to an increase in extreme weather events both here in the U.S. and globally, the effects of climate change have been seen more frequently in recent years.
In the most comprehensive review of mortality and economic losses from weather, water and climate extremes to date, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a U.N. agency, issued a new report this August on the rise in extreme weather related disasters over the past 50 years. The WMO report states that the number of climate-related disasters has increased by a factor of five from 1970 to 2019. The WMO also reported that the over 11,000 reported climate-related disasters across the globe during this period led to over 2 million deaths and $3.64 trillion in losses.
There are differences in how both Democrats and Republicans view climate change and the government’s role in addressing the climate crisis, but the issue is too important to allow those differences to prevent action.
According to newly released research from the Pew Research Center in October, two-thirds of Americans believe that extreme weather events in the U.S. have occurred more frequently than in previous years. In fact, nearly half of Americans (46%) said that their area has experienced an extreme weather event over the past year. But while the majority of Americans believe there is a rise in climate change related disasters, the research also showed that there are still partisan differences in the view of the rise of extreme weather in the U.S. and how the federal government should address climate change – with Democrats more likely than Republicans to say that extreme weather events in the U.S. are on the rise and that government should take a more active role in addressing it.
President Biden has made addressing the climate crisis a top priority for his Administration. The new infrastructure law and proposed Build Back Better bill pending in the Senate both contain historic levels of funding and new proposals to address climate change, and there are federal lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who have made it a mission to address climate change. From the formation of bipartisan caucuses in both chambers and a conservative caucus to educate Members of Congress about climate change, to the introduction of bipartisan policy proposals, there is action in Congress.
Addressing the climate crisis will require Members of Congress to work across the aisle to find policy solutions to this growing crisis. It will also require a collaborative approach from both government and industry. This month’s edition of Inside Story explores some of the policies being considered to confront climate change.
–Gloria Story Dittus, Chairman, Story Partners