In July, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk sent out a constituent email noting that climate change is "too big to ignore" while touting a vote to support international efforts to raise awareness and cut greenhouse gas emissions. As I noted at the time, fighting climate change isn't something done elsewhere on the planet--if we are going to stop the worst impacts of climate, we need to deal with domestic carbon pollution and show leadership to bring other countries along.
In the coming weeks, Senator Kirk has an opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.
A pair of Congressional Review Act bills have emerged with the clear intention of gumming up implementation of the Clean Power Plan, our nation's historic effort to slash carbon pollution from power plants. By cleaning up our power plants, the largest single source of CO2 pollution, America is leading by example on climate action. Because after all, if we aren't going to cut our emissions why should other countries?
Senator Kirk needs to choose whether he will look out for polluters or people. The vast majority of Illinoisans (and Americans) want climate action. So do figures within his own party, like his colleague Senator Ayotte of New Hampshire who has spoken out this week in support of the Clean Power Plan.
So, Senator Kirk--if climate change is too big to ignore, it is time to stand up against the climate CRA in DC. If climate is too big to ignore around the world, it is too big to ignore here too. Encouraging other countries to deal with climate change while ignoring carbon emissions here is not really dealing with the problem at all.
Dealing with climate starts by dealing with carbon pollution here at home.
Update: Unfortunately, Senator Kirk has signaled his support for the CRA to Politico. If true, it is greatly disappointing. Here is NRDC's response with a reminder that climate change will have huge impacts on Illinois' economy, the Great Lakes and the military--all issues he purports to hold dear.