Want to save the world? Tell local leaders to act now on climate change

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category icon Editorials, Opinion

Last week, after our president pulled the United States out of a worldwide agreement to save the planet from the almost-certain ravages of unchecked climate change, a beautiful thing happened — business and political leaders stood up and said, “No.”

“No” to Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“No” to the 21 other (heavily-indebted-to-coal-gas-and-oil-industries) Republican legislators who urged withdrawal from the Paris Accord.

“No” to those who thumb their nose at nearly 98 percent of climate scientists, and insist, despite an overwhelming mountain of peer-reviewed research, that humans are not to blame for our rapidly warming planet.

“No” to bailing on an agreement with every other nation in the world, save Syria, which was in the middle of a civil war when world leaders signed the Paris Accord, and Nicaragua, where leaders believed the agreement didn’t go far enough to curb carbon emissions.

In a show of strength and unity, thousands of community, business and political leaders signed the “We Are Still In” pledge (, signaling a commitment to honor the spirit of the Paris climate agreement and assuring our flabbergasted friends around the globe that most Americans aren’t as ignorant and greedy as those currently in charge of our federal government.

Companies that are a big part of everyday life for many Camas-Washougal residents — including Hewlett Packard, Portland General Electric, Microsoft, Google, Target, Intel, Columbia Sportswear, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Adidas, Starbucks and Apple — have all said “No” to Trump’s decision to back out of the climate change agreement and signed the “We Are Still In” pledge.

Another spot of hope: More than 200 mayors from cities across the country — including West Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump’s “winter White House” is located — signed on as “Climate Mayors” and vowed to strengthen local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There is no real doubt that humans have very little time to dodge the climate-change bullet.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan science/journalism group Climate Central (, has pulled together a comprehensive list of dangers facing residents in each state if the world cannot stop global average temperatures from climbing to 2.0 degrees Celsius.

In Washington we face the following risks:

DROUGHT: Washington has the third-greatest drought risk in the U.S. “By 2050, the state is projected to see a more than 300 percent increase in severity of widespread summer drought,” Climate Central states.

FLOODING: The 35,000 Washingtonians currently at risk of coastal flooding will increase to 54,000 people by 2050. Inland flooding, particularly for riverside towns like Camas and Washougal, is projected to impact nearly one-half million Washington State residents by 2050.

EXTREME HEAT: The number of days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit are on the increase in Washington and the number of “danger days” or those hotter than 105 degrees, will continue to rise.

As parents, we dedicate our lives to helping our children thrive and prosper. But none of this will matter if their world is too hot to live in or if there isn’t enough food and water to go around. The best school in the world won’t protect them from a rising ocean or a flooding river.

The good news is this: Because cities produce more than 70 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, local measures make an enormous difference.

In Camas-Washougal, there’s no better time than the present to urge local leaders to think about climate change — the city of Camas is currently pulling together a long-term strategic plan that will impact the city for the next two decades and the folks behind the Washougal Round Table group are literally throwing a party on July 1 in the hope that people will come and talk about the future of that city.

Gather your ideas. Share them with your city leaders.Urge them to say “Yes” to reducing this area’s carbon footprint. To learn more, visit the following resources: