Oregon has been hit with multiple devastating wildfire seasons. Some say action on climate change is needed to mitigate them. (tawatchai1990/Adobe Stock)

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By Eric Tegethoff

November 4, 2021   

PORTLAND, Ore. — As leaders from around the world meet in Glasgow, the United States’ plan to tackle climate change is coming into focus.

The Build Back Better Act in Congress would invest about $550 billion to cut the country’s carbon emissions.

Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth, who is co-chair of the Elected Officials to Protect America Leadership Council, an organization made up largely of veterans, spoke while traveling to Glasgow for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, where he said there will be plenty of big speeches.

He added that the conference also brings together leaders who are taking climate action with smaller steps. “The real value is, you get people in the room who are fighting the same fight,” Evans explained. “They get to feed off the energy, and they get to recognize that, yeah, this is a huge, huge project, but it’s just like my training instructor in the Air Force said, ‘You eat an elephant one bite at a time.'”

The conference runs through Nov. 12. Supporters of the Build Back Better Act say the current framework of the package gives the Biden administration the tools it needs to cut the country’s carbon pollution to half of 2005 levels by 2030.

Evans believes the package could be one of the most important pieces of legislation in his lifetime.

“It’s going to be a historic investment at actually preparing for disasters, mitigating the effects thereof,” Evans remarked. “The climate-action job package that they have in there, I think, is going to be transformational.”

Republicans have consistently opposed the Build Back Better Act because they believe it is too costly.

Evans argued the stakes are high to act on climate change. He pointed out the changes are already affecting Oregon, with a million acres burning in 2020, more than 800,000 this year, and dwindling snowpack from shorter winters reducing water in the state.

“Nature is changing,” Evans stressed. “We either approach this from a can-do approach or we sit on the sidelines and watch the future of our children and grandchildren evaporate — literally.”

References:  Build Back Better framework White House 10/28/2021
COP26 conference United Nations 2021