WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, released the following statement in honor of the 51st Earth Day.
“While it is always important to set aside a day to pause and reflect on our relationship with the natural world, I consider this Earth Day one of the most important yet. As we begin to emerge from the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic and reset our new ‘business as usual,’ we are stepping into a new world that is rife with opportunity for progress on climate change with a more meaningful understanding of what it means to live in a global community. Our nation and planet are at a crossroads in determining the future of our climate. With a new administration that understands the threat of climate change and the role of the United States as a global leader, we are ready to take bold action.
“The scientific consensus is that climate change will have devastating and far-reaching impacts on the environment, public health, and national security and we must mitigate and adapt to avoid the worst effects. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the challenges and opportunities of our increasingly globalized world. More than ever, we are understanding how the decisions made by government at every level, by corporations, and by individuals have real-world impacts and consequences. Actions that affect our climate are no different.
“Fortunately, our communities have proven resilient and adaptable. Over the past year, Americans have been burdened with collective grief, fear, and uncertainty. Through it all, our nation has demonstrated a grit and ingenuity unlike any we have seen in generations. We saw parents step up as teachers, corporations pivot their business models to keep people safe, and an entire population of office workers transition to working from home. In terms of action on climate change, this flexibility proves that a departure from the status quo is not as unrealistic as we may have previously thought. In fact, a change from ‘business as usual’ can have unforeseen benefits for our quality of life and our planet.
“Equipped with the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, I am more confident than ever than our nation in ready to commit to action on climate change in earnest. Additionally, the Biden Administration is already pursuing an aggressive climate agenda- by reversing the shortsighted decisions of the Trump Administration and doubling down on Obama administration environmental regulations. The bold 2030 Nationally Determined Commitment and Build Back Better agenda recognize both the need to mitigate emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change that are already harming our communities. A great and overdue need to update our nation’s infrastructure provides an opportunity to address some of our society’s most insidious sources of pollution.”