Gov. Cooper: Congress must address climate crisis

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- North Carolina’s governor delivers his own message to Congress one day after President Donald Trump's State of the Union address.

Governor Roy Cooper (D-NC) warns lawmakers climate change is already making landfall in North Carolina, insisting federal action is the only way to prevent it from eventually crippling the economy.

“It’s not enough just to pick up the pieces, we must take action to prevent this kind of devastation in the future,” he said.

As evidence, Cooper highlighted Hurricane Florence’s $17-billion clean up cost, scorching heat’s drain on agriculture, and the threat extreme weather poses to Fort Bragg and by extension, national security. The governor told lawmakers, “the true cost is incalculable.”

Democrats are forcing the issue into political center-stage in the House, but republicans control the Senate, and the president frequently makes his skepticism clear.

“I would not call it the greatest crisis, no sir,” EPA Director Andrew Wheeler recently said in testimony before Congress. The former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler argued it’s a “huge issue” that needs to be addressed globally. He told us a recent United Nations report suggesting the need for immediate, dramatic action is overblown.

“I have some questions about how the modeling was used in the report, but I have bigger questions about how it’s being reported in the press,” he said. Wheeler noted headlines focused on the worst-case projection, which assumes no cutback in carbon emissions or progress in green technology.

When asked if he could expect the administration to take the big steps he’s suggesting, Cooper said, “this president doesn’t have a good track record on this.” Cooper said Congress should start by giving storm-battered states like his more flexibility to use disaster recovery cash to prepare for the next storm.

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