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Politics: Investing in public transit is a climate imperative

COP26: Did the Glasgow summit matter for climate change?

  COP26: Did the Glasgow summit matter for climate change? COP26: Did the Glasgow summit matter for climate change?"So let this be the moment that we answer history's call here in Glasgow," Biden told a room full of leaders, ministers and climate negotiators from around the world.

Many in Congress have rightly emphasized the need for climate action in the bipartisan infrastructure package currently dominating Washington's attention. To adequately address the rapidly accelerating threat of climate change and its impacts on communities across the nation, one thing needs to be made abundantly clear: Investing in public transportation is critical, and Congress shouldn't shortchange it.

a person driving a car: coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic emissions moana lab hawaii observatory carbon dioxide particulate matter PPM record atmosphere travel resume april 3 © iStock coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic emissions moana lab hawaii observatory carbon dioxide particulate matter PPM record atmosphere travel resume april 3

President Biden has already committed to a climate agenda that aims to reduce our economy's greenhouse emissions by over 50 percent from 2005 levels, specifically stating the need to reduce transportation pollution. Since the transportation sector continues to be the nation's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, achieving this goal will require a dramatic reduction in reliance on passenger vehicles and a shift towards public transit nationwide. And to handle larger commuter loads, we must prioritize a steady stream of federal investment to help maintain mass transit systems and ensure our transit buses are electric in order to improve air quality and protect public health.

Optimistic vs. 'No Backbone': Scientists Split on Whether Climate Pact Will Meet Goals

  Optimistic vs. 'No Backbone': Scientists Split on Whether Climate Pact Will Meet Goals While speaking to 13 scientists, the Associated Press found that the 1.5-degree Celsius limit was a hot point of debate in the deal.Many scientists are split on the effectiveness of the proposed 1.5-degree Celsius limit. The Associated Press spoke with 13 scientists after the pact was revealed at COP26, and they responded to the new venture with varying reactions. Some scientists are cautiously optimistic about the new deal, but it will have to take a lot of work from the countries involved to make it a reality.

Public transit systems offer a sustainable and efficient transportation option in highly populated areas (where emissions levels are highest), and reliable transit is also important to rural residents. And there is broad support for public transit. A national poll shows that 66 percent of voters would be disappointed if upgrades and expansions to energy-efficient public transportation were omitted from the infrastructure bill.

Clean transportation investments are an urgent imperative. People across the planet are experiencing the disastrous impacts of the climate crisis, including unprecedented temperatures, rising sea levels, unpredictable weather patterns, and increased weather-related disasters. If reducing greenhouse emissions is at the center of our nation's climate policy, then tackling the largest source of pollution must be at the forefront of the climate debate.

'This is God's creation': Pelosi invokes religion for climate change action after U.N. summit

  'This is God's creation': Pelosi invokes religion for climate change action after U.N. summit To emphasize the moral imperative to combat climate change, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked her religious beliefs in a press conference on Thursday. Pelosi said limiting the severity of climate change is “a moral obligation for us to hand this planet over to the next generation in a responsible way.” “For me, it’s a religious thing: I believe this is God’s creation, and we have a moral obligation to be good stewards,” said Pelosi, who is a practicing Catholic. © Provided by Yahoo! News House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks to reporters during her weekly news conference on Nov. 18.

Communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately suffering from transportation pollution and the impacts of climate change. Curbing transportation pollution and improving access to transit is a matter of protecting our most vulnerable communities. Infrastructure investments must be rooted in climate, justice and job creation. This is a once-in-a-generation chance for big investments in transit funding. Failing to go big enough is not an option.

Disproportionate energy consumption from cars and light trucks causes serious harm to air quality, particularly in our cities and surrounding areas. A recently published study from Harvard and the University of North Carolina found that in New York City alone, over 1,400 premature deaths and billions of dollars in health care costs are incurred every year strictly due to pollution emanated by the tens of thousands of vehicles congesting the metro area. The harmful air quality has led to chronic health problems like high rates of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Daily on Energy: The climate measures in the bipartisan infrastructure deal

  Daily on Energy: The climate measures in the bipartisan infrastructure deal Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Default Image - July 2021 CLIMATE DOWNPAYMENT: The Senate voted yesterday to advance a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package ($550 billion in new spending) after weeks of stalled efforts to reach a bipartisan deal, with 17 Republicans supporting the agreement.

Our choices in transportation have real-life consequences in both the near and long-term, and we need to make decisions that reflect the magnitude of the environmental challenges we face. This must start with a legislative infrastructure package that prioritizes smart investment in our public transit infrastructure that reduces transportation emissions and energy consumption.

Public transit systems need to have the resources necessary to meet 21st-century needs to reduce dependency on environmentally harmful vehicles. We need to modernize and expand public transit infrastructure across the country to increase functionality, productivity and access to allow more individuals to choose more environmentally conscious commuting options.

There is no one solution to this problem. Addressing climate change requires a multi-pronged approach that includes bold investments in electric vehicle technology and renewable energy sources. For those blocking progress - every day of inaction translates to further depreciation of already outdated infrastructure, devastating economic losses and unnecessary ripple effects in our air quality and public health.

Katherine Garcia is the acting director of Sierra Club's Clean Transportation for All campaign. Established in 1892, Sierra Club is one of the oldest environmental advocacy organizations in the world.

Less than 2 percent of philanthropy goes toward our biggest threat — climate change .
Giving Tuesday: After reflecting on all that we’re grateful for over Thanksgiving, today we give back.Some predict that we'll collectively reach in our pockets and donate over $3 billion today. That's incredible.

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