The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mark Morgenstein, Director of Media Relations,

'Climate Week' Panel: The Fierce Urgency of Fire, Explained

Environmental experts tackled how wildfires, hurricanes and other extreme weather events underscore the case for climate action and renewable power.


As 78 wildfires burned across nearly every state in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones and Tropical Storm Beta churned up the Texas coast, experts from Environment America hosted a web panel Tuesday to discuss the phenomenon behind this severe weather--climate change--and what we can do about it.

"This current moment--wildfires, hurricanes, dire news of collapsing ice shelves... underscores the need for climate action," said moderator Wendy Wendlandt, the acting president of Environment America. "One of the best solutions is renewable energy."
During the webinar on the second day of Climate Week, panelists pointed out strategies -- ranging from "a solar panel on every roof" to 100% renewable energy legislation -- that can help us move as swiftly as possible to a zero-carbon economy, with a more resilient power system, cleaner air, and a healthier, more stable climate.

"We can either continue powering our lives by burning fossil fuels, destroying wild places, polluting our air, polluting our water, harming our health and fundamentally destabilizing our climate, not just for today but for future generations. Or we can take a different path," said panelist Johanna Neumann, Environment America's senior director for 100% renewable energy.

While climate change is an enormous, multi-faceted problem, scientists know the primary causes, many of which we have the knowledge and technology to tackle. So, whether we can mitigate climate change is not a question of a "way," it's a question of our will.
"We have a choice that we have to make right now as to whether we want to continue down a path of using fossil fuels that are dirty and dangerous or if we want to make a different choice and move to clean energy," said Dan Jacobson, state director for Environment America's California-based operation Environment California. Later, he added, "We know how to solve this problem and we know how to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, but we have to do it now. And waiting for 10 years or 20 years and then trying to figure it out -- that's just not going to work."

Neumann closed the event by pointing out that taking steps to limit the danger of climate change needs to be an ongoing process -- it can't just be a one-time thing.

"Let's make bold steps on solar, win that progress, and then do it again. Let's take bold steps on wind, secure that progress and then do it again. Let's take action and then take action again," she said.

You can see the full webinar here.

With Environment America, you protect the places that all of us love and promote core environmental values, such as clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and clean energy to power our lives. We're a national network of 29 state environmental groups with members and supporters in every state. Together, we focus on timely, targeted action that wins tangible improvements in the quality of our environment and our lives.

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