Hold reps to task on climate

Aug 29, 2020 The Parkersburg News and Sentinel: Sarah Cross

This letter is in response to the July 25 op-ed article in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, “Thank you for Backing the Great American Outdoors Act.”

I could not agree more with the authors — the Great American Outdoors Act is an investment in the people and we owe much gratitude to Senator Manchin and Senator Capito for co-sponsoring the bill, as well as Representative Miller for voting in favor of the law. I’m excited to see this legislation pass, as I, too, believe it promotes better access to the outdoors, supports economic development, and addresses societal challenges.

While it was not mentioned in the article, one of these relevant societal challenges is climate change. The Great American Outdoors Act will promote the protection of forests and waterbodies, which will, in turn, help mitigate climate change by storing and removing carbon through a process known as “carbon sequestration.” Essentially, by protecting natural outdoor spaces and resources, we are combating climate change. The more carbon that is stored and removed through natural processes, the less carbon dioxide will reach the atmosphere. This is considered a “natural solution” to climate change and helps slow down the depletion of the ozone layer.

Ultimately, reducing our dependency on fossil fuels is not enough to slow down the negative effects of climate change, such as incredibly severe storms, dangerous temperature fluctuations, and air pollution. However, academic literature suggests natural solutions can provide over one-third of cost-effective climate change mitigation needed by 2030! The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has also stated the need for natural climate solutions in a recent report called “Solving the Climate Crisis.” Let’s hold our representatives accountable to this action plan and thank those who have helped along the way.