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McCloskey (R-CA)

Former Congressman Pete McCloskey (R-CA)

If we learned tomorrow an asteroid was heading for a collision with earth don't you think all the advanced nations of the world would come together to address the threat? Probably. In 1992, in Rio de Janeiro the world came together to address the threat to all mankind poses by the destruction of the ozone layer in our atmosphere by manmade chemicals. The ozone hole was allowing lethal levels of ultraviolet light to pound humans, plants and animals all over the earth. In similar fashion, eventually we will address global climate disruption. The only question is when. Will we start now, and lessen the impacts on our children and grandchildren? Or will we put off the inevitable and leave failed life support systems all over the world for future generations to live under? Our consumer lifestyle promotes immediate consumption now and discourages longer term planning. That's why it's so hard for our society to act now to stem destruction we're already seeing. In the case of the ozone hole, political and scientific leaders dealt with the problem and much of the public never even understood the depth of the threat. When it comes to global climate disruption, addressing the problem means replacing or displacing the biggest vested interests the world has ever known; the oil and coal industries. Politicians will likely resist leading the way for as long as possible. Action may wait until storms, drought, unprecedented wildfires and all the rest become more than the public will tolerate. Since we know this is already happening, why wait?

Pete McCloskey (R-San Mateo) served in the Congress from l967-1983. He was with Senator Gaylord Nelson the co chairman of the first Earth Day in l970 and authored many of our environmental protection laws.