Climate Change

 Climate change is one of the defining issues of our era. It is a direct threat to our civilization and our way of life as we know it.  Already, atmospheric CO2 levels have risen to higher levels than they have been on Earth since 4.1 million years ago, when the sea level was 78 feet higher than it is now, and the average temperature was 7 degrees higher than it was in pre-industrial times.  As our world heads in that direction, there will be consequences.


Rising temperatures will cause a large increase in extreme weather events, which will increase in scope and magnitude. Fires, floods, droughts, and more will cause yet-unseen damage. Wildfires are of particular threat in California, where pervasive droughts have helped to lengthen the wildfire season. The Woolsey and Camp fires of late 2018 caused billions of dollars in property damage between them, destroying 240,000 acres of land and costing 88 citizens their lives. Wildfire events such as these will only become more common and more extreme as California continues to dry out. These events will accompany a rising sea, which will impact the lives of millions of Americans living in coastal regions.


There must be a solid commitment to limiting the rise in global temperature to below disastrous levels in an attempt to prevent this future. We must come together as a nation to achieve this, but this commitment must start on Capitol Hill. I support legislation that promotes a transition to primarily nuclear and renewable energy sources, as well economic incentives like cap-and trade measures that will push corporations and the energy sector towards lower emissions.

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Energy Reforms

Currently, the energy sector accounts for 73.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To cut down on emissions and be on pace for global Net Zero requirements, renewable and clean energy needs to increase by 60% by 2030. In Palo Alto specifically, I was a key proponent of the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan(SCAP). SCAP pushes for an 80 percent decrease below 1990 levels by 2030 (“The 80 x 30 goal), which is more stringent than global recommendations. During my time as a council member, I have supported every environmental effort within the SCAP, and am always pushing for a more sustainable future. 

Many Eastern States have collaborated to establish the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This initiative establishes a regional cap on CO2 emissions for power plants, which will gradually decline in a predictable manner. This allows for these companies to either reduce emissions or purchase additional allowances. Since the inception of the RGGI, RGGI emissions have been reduced by more than 50% in the region — twice as fast as the nation as a whole — with the added benefit of raising billions of dollars for the local communities. 


California has also passed similar legislation, with a Cap-and-Trade Program that covers 80% of greenhouse gas emitters in the state. I propose that a cap-and-trade system be established on the federal level. In both the Eastern seaboard and California, these pieces of legislation have significantly cut carbon emissions while generating revenue for their respective state governments. Since the program gets innately more stringent over time, it does not need to significantly strain the current infrastructure initially — instead promoting a gradual shift in power sources over time.


Nuclear power, which can crucially bridge the gap between fossil fuels and renewables, needs to be part of our national solution. Nuclear energy is a safe form of generating energy and generates no atmospheric carbon. Nuclear power already provides around 20% of America’s power, but an aging fleet of reactors and public stigma have resulted in many reactors being in various states of decommissioning. I believe that we should focus on creating a new generation of modern reactors, as well as retrofit the ones still in service. Nuclear energy is America’s key to weaning off of fossil fuels, and it needs to make use of it.

Read more about my nuclear energy stance here.

As more climate legislation is passed and U.S. society transitions to more climate-aware industries, transitioning into a green economy will be essential for our growth as a country.



Green Economics

A green economy is one in which economic growth is driven by investment into economic activities that are actively preventing climate change. It is estimated that a green economy will be a “significant contributor to US economic development and the economic well-being of millions of people across the US”. The transition to renewable energy is expected to cause employment to grow exponentially as seen in Vermont’s emphasis on clean energy, which has amounted to 29% employment increase and around 19,000 jobs in the state. A similar emphasis on clean energy by the federal government would create a similar result. Those working in the renewable energy sector report higher wages and lower income inequality, another reason we should invest in renewables. Additionally, to support both small businesses and job growth, I advocate for the creation of the Small Business Opportunity Fund which would dedicate financing towards the climate transition of smaller businesses through green grants and loans, ensuring the vitality of the business, the growth of employment, and our climate. 


Overall, our government must act quickly to address the world’s changing climate. If we do nothing, natural disasters will worsen, sea levels will rise, and everyone will suffer as a result. We as a nation must address this, through legislation as well as a change in mindset and lifestyle. In order to curb emissions and promote a switch to nuclear and renewable energy, I propose adopting a national carbon cap-and-trade system similar to the ones already implemented in California and on the east coast.


 I am one of the few elected officials that practices what I preach in terms of climate change. I bike or take public transportation nearly everywhere I go in an attempt to limit my carbon footprint. I am aware of the impact that my actions can have on our climate, and hope to be an example for many others to follow.


Data-driven climate policies and actions are crucial to our progress as a nation, and I am ready to fight for a greener future.


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