The Weather Channel reported that this winter was the warmest on record for the 48 mainland states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), and Antarctica recorded its hottest temperature ever at 65 degrees Fahrenheit last Thursday.
With Australia having now suffered devastating wildfires followed by rainstorms and widespread flash flooding, climate change is becoming a frequent topic in the news.
The Citizens’ Climate Lobby supports a solution for climate change that will increase incomes and create new jobs, known as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. They are a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with 11 active chapters in New Jersey and three more in progress. One of these New Jersey locations is in Montclair.
The act consists of a fee on fossil fuels known as a “carbon fee” that encourages renewable energy resources. The money collected from the fee is then divided equally among all Americans.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby estimates that this act can reduce emissions by 40% in the first 12 years and create 2.1 million new jobs.
Currently, there are 77 cosponsors of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act in the House of Representatives. Although the only Republican cosponsor is Representative Francis Rooney from Florida, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby believes that climate change is too urgent to be slowed down by partisanship.
There are four cosponsors from New Jersey, including Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. who represents part of Montclair, New Jersey. Rep. Mikie Sherrill represents the other half of Montclair, New Jersey, and while she does not currently cosponsor the bill, she does cosponsor six other environmental protection bills.
Montclair State University students are expressing their concern regarding climate change. Megan Kick, a freshman English major, reminds students that even the slightest effort can help save the environment.
“If we all started using reusable and eco-friendly products, the planet would truly thank us,” Kick said. “It only takes a small step to make an impact, but we have to take action quick.”
Bryanna Rosario, a freshman English major, also voiced concerns about climate change.
“It’s clearly affecting our world and making it worse than it was before,” Rosario said. “Instead of talking about what we want to do, we should start doing something before it’s too late. It’s a bigger issue than people realize.”
Helena Van Vilet, a freshman nursing major, sees climate change as urgent, but also shared hopes for the future.
“Given our current state of climate change, we are experiencing less and less of the four seasons,” Van Vilet said. “I want my children to be able to have the joy and appreciation of the world as it naturally presents itself, and we need to act now to save our planet.”