As you may have noticed, our national government has utterly failed to provide leadership in the face of the global climate crisis. Once we get through the Covid-19 pandemic — another area of failed leadership — we will still face this even more threatening, though slower moving, crisis. Regardless of what you hear on the evening news lately, climate change has not been put on pause. What are concerned, climate-conscious citizens to do? In addition to reducing our individual carbon footprints, we need to take political action at the local level.
Middletown’s Sustainability Team and Clean Energy Task Force proposed a resolution to Mayor Florsheim and to the Common Council (formally adopted on Sept. 8, 2020) declaring a climate emergency and resolving to take local action to reduce carbon emissions and to pressure state and federal leaders to face this crisis. A copy of the draft resolution may be viewed here: Climate Emergency Resolution
To illustrate the magnitude of the climate crisis, consider this. For the past 800,000 years, the concentration of atmospheric CO2 varied between 180 and 280 parts per million (ppm) as the earth’s climate fluctuated between ice ages and warm spells. In the last 170 years, since 1850, when the industrial revolution accelerated the burning of fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 has increased from 280 to over 410 ppm. Is that serious? The last time the earth’s atmosphere had 410 ppm was in the Pliocene era, approximately 4 million years ago. In the Pliocene, sea level varied 10-25 meters higher than at present, and the coastline of Virginia was 90 miles inland from its present location. (See photo.) If we stay at 410 ppm, eventually the delayed warming will catch up to the CO2 level and the eastern seaboard of the United States will be completely underwater.
To avoid the worst climate catastrophe, we need to look beyond the pandemic and the November elections that are consuming the public’s attention. Since state and federal governments have proved themselves incapable of an adequate response, action needs to come from the grassroots and local governments. Email Mayor Ben Florsheim Mayor@MiddletownCT.gov and the Common Council Council@MiddletownCT.gov to express your support for the Resolution Declaring A Climate Emergency and urge meaningful climate action by our local government. By signing the petition, your name will be added to the list of citizens who will receive action alerts on this issue.
[Petition Now Closed]