Climate advocates are hoping for a breakthrough to fight climate change both in the United States and among world leaders at COP26. (ink drop/Adobe Stock)

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ATLANTA — 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.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, through next Friday.

Ted Terry, DeKalb County Commissioner, said for Georgia to mitigate the effects of a changing climate, investments such as the Build Back Better Act are crucial.

“In order for us to meet the challenge to address what is being discussed right now in Glasgow, we need the support of the federal government to make it happen,” Terry asserted. “Otherwise, we’re just not going to be able to raise as much money to put those investments in place to help people.”

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. Republicans remain opposed to the legislation, saying it’s too costly.

Terry said DeKalb County is dealing with issues from climate change.

“When it rains, it rains so hard that neighborhoods literally get swallowed up and inundated and streets turn into rivers,” Terry observed. “The sheer amount of money that we have to raise locally just to deal with stormwater issues is mind-boggling.”

Terry is the former mayor of Clarkston, a city in DeKalb County that has welcomed refugees from around the world for decades. He said increasingly, people are fleeing the effects of climate change.

“I’ve heard stories from newly arriving refugees in my community that not only talk about the displacement of their families and their whole communities and literally millions of people because of persecution and violence and genocide and civil war, but even more so lately because of climate change,” Terry remarked.