The Build Back Better framework would promote renewables and move the United States toward a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030. (Niserin/Istockphoto)

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By Suzanne Potter

November 4, 2021   

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Local leaders from Pennsylvania and across the country are pressing for decisive action in the fight against climate change, worldwide and at home.

The group, Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA), urged world leaders gathered in Glasgow, Scotland, to see climate change as a national security issue.

Dr. Joel Hicks, member of the Carlisle City Council, professor of Energy and Public Policy at George Mason University, a Veteran and an EOPA member, said world leaders need to recognize drought and floods linked to climate change will cause economic hardship, which will spur migrations and make countries more vulnerable to manipulation by state and non-state-sponsored terrorism.

“Climate is going to be the main source of instability as we move forward,” Hicks asserted. “With instability, there’s an increased opportunity for nefarious forces to really take advantage of people’s desperation.”

EOPA has sent a contingent to the climate-change conference in Scotland this week. In addition, more than 320 local officials from across the U.S., including Hicks, have signed a letter asking President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency.

The Build Back Better reconciliation bill would put $555 billion over ten years into programs to reduce carbon pollution and create jobs by promoting renewable energy, electric vehicles, EV infrastructure and energy efficiency.

Hicks argued it is a big step in the right direction.

“The policy embedded in that, it doesn’t rise to the challenge,” Hicks emphasized. “But it would still be the most significant thing probably in our history directing a substantial amount of funds to the problem.”

Advocates estimate this past summer, one in three Americans suffered the effects of climate change, in the form of drought, wildfire, flooding or extreme storms.

References:  COP26 conference United Nations 2021
Letter Elected Officials to Protect America 09/15/2021
Build Back Better framework White House 10/28/2021