In light of the latest IPCC report on climate change, it’s crucial we remember these four steps to avoiding a climate catastrophe.
First, create green jobs. Investing in renewable energy could create millions of family sustaining, union jobs and build the infrastructure we need for marginalized communities to access clean water and air.
Second, stop dirty energy. A massive investment in renewable energy jobs isn’t enough to combat the climate crisis. If we are going to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must tackle the problem at its source: Stop digging up and burning more oil, gas, and coal.
Third, kick fossil fuel companies out of our politics. For decades, companies like Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and BP have been polluting our democracy by pouring billions of dollars into our politics and bankrolling elected officials to enact policies that protect their profits. The oil and gas industry spent over $103 million on the 2016 federal elections alone.
Fourth, require the fossil fuel companies that have profited from environmental injustice to compensate the communities they’ve harmed. As if buying off our democracy wasn’t enough, these corporations have also deliberately misled the public for years on the amount of damage their products have been causing. If these solutions sound drastic to you, it’s because they are. They have to be if we have any hope of keeping our planet habitable. The climate crisis is not a far-off apocalyptic nightmare—it is our present day.
This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.
Robert B. Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and former secretary of labor under the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His film, Inequality for All, was released in 2013. Follow him on Twitter: @RBReich.