Coming off the hottest year on record in the United States, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today that he will introduce legislation to move aggressively to reverse global warming.
"The scientific data is clear that global warming is real and significantly caused by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels," Sanders said.
"After the hottest year on record and extreme weather disturbances such as Hurricane Sandy, we must take strong action to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and move toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy," Sanders added. "I intend to introduce legislation in the Senate to do just that."
Sanders' legislation will include a transparent fee on greenhouse gas emissions from the biggest polluters. It will call for an historic investment in efficiency, sustainable energy, advanced transportation infrastructure, and clean energy research and development. The measure also would end fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks.
The annual U.S. temperature last year was 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit, a full degree warmer than the old record set in 1998, the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., announced on Tuesday. Scientists say the temperature increases are happening faster than they expected and that the warming trend is a result of climate change caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
The problem is global. Record temperatures in Australia, for example, produced what the government called "catastrophic" fire conditions in the most populace part of the continent. The average temperature across Australia on Tuesday was the highest since statistics began being kept in 1911.
The United States in recent years has doubled electricity generation from wind and solar power sources and enacted fuel economy standards that will help our cars and trucks get to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. "But we are not doing nearly enough," Sanders said. "That is why I will be introducing legislation that would deal realistically with the crisis in a way that is aggressive but achievable."