According to a U.N. report released Monday, the future of the planet looks dire.
Tens of millions of people flooded by sea level rise, hundreds of millions suffering through severe droughts. Mass die-offs of 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs.
That could be reality in just 20 years, unless governments around the world take action urgently.
The day after the report was released, its grim findings hung heavy in the air of hearing room 500 at the Wilson Building, where the D.C. Council met to considering major climate legislation. Among other things, the legislation would create the strongest renewable energy requirement in the nation, transitioning to 100 percent clean energy in just 15 years.
“Fighting climate change is, I believe, the greatest moral challenge of our time,” said Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), who chairs the environment committee. Cheh introduced the bill in July. At the hearing, 87 people signed up to testify. Most, if not all, supported at least part of the legislation.
Cheh admitted that there would be costs associated with ending carbon emissions, but said the cost of doing nothing would be far greater.
“It would be ruinous, it would be catastrophic,” she said.
Cheh also acknowledged that the efforts of one city wouldn’t make a dent in global emissions, but said D.C. could serve as a model for others.
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