Kip Malinosky is the Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
Last weekend more than 300,000 people took to the streets of New York to march for action to reduce climate change. This comes after the hottest August the world has ever experienced. With daily news reports filled with stories of droughts, floods and forest fires – the time for action has arrived. Actually that moment arrived decades ago and now it’s time for radical action. Naomi Klein argues in her wonderful new book, This Changes Everything, taking on climate change can and should transform our politics. She’s right. We need to aggressively reduce emissions and switch to alternative energies.
Arlington has been a leader in taking local action to address global warming. Jay Fisette led the creation of Arlington’s Community Energy Plan and Clerk of the Court Paul Ferguson, when he was on the County Board, spearheaded the Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions in 2007 (now Rethink Energy) which led to 10 percent reduction in emissions. However, we cannot afford to be content with our success to date. We must keep electing leaders who are committed to meaningful action on climate change.
This year we are lucky to have a Democratic ticket united from the U.S. Senate to the School Board that cares deeply about renewable energy. Senator Warner wants “to spur the development of offshore wind energy, tax provisions to make wind and solar projects more affordable and… encourage the U.S. military to continue developing alternative fuel sources.” These are a set of sensible climate-friendly policies that have a chance of breaking Republican filibusters, especially given Warner’s commitment to bringing people together.
Democratic Congressional nominee Don Beyer has been one of the most forceful and thoughtful advocates for climate action we have running for Congress. Beyer is calling for a carbon tax that “must include investments in clean energy and in energy efficiency, as well as protections for low-income households…. This is the single most important issue of our time, and we need to act now. We owe it to future generations.” He is crystal clear about the urgency of this issue and he will do everything can to get legislation to this end through Congress.
The sad truth, however, is that the Republican Party is in thrall to a Tea-Party ideology in both Washington and Richmond with enormous power to obstruct any progress on climate action. In the United States, the most promising climate action is often at the local level. This is why it is critical for us to elect our Democratic County Board Nominee Alan Howze.
Alan got his start in politics through environmental activism and has a strong set of proposals that will help reduce Arlington’s carbon footprint. He has called for combating climate change locally by supporting policies to make it easier to buy and install solar panels in Arlington, by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy for our commercial and county buildings, advocating for “Green Tech” companies and policies that encourage innovation to reduce energy use throughout the community and investing in mass transit including the streetcar. He has spoken about making our community more resilient and protecting Arlington’s infrastructure, such as our water-treatment plant from a hurricane Sandy-type storm surge. Alan will never support fracking in George Washington National Park. Howze’s forward thinking for Arlington will truly makes us a more walkable, livable, and sustainable community – so we can do our part to reduce global warming.
Working together, Warner, Beyer and Howze will lead the fight to address climate change and protect our community.