Catherine Rampell missed a key point in her Oct. 27 Tuesday Opinion column, “Biden’s energy ‘gaffe’ is the truth: Oil is history.” Though it is true that “politicians can make a difference” and “accelerate the pace of change,” the reason lawmakers haven’t, of course, is that they aren’t hearing from enough constituents that addressing the threat of climate change is a priority. And why is that?
More than 70 percent of Americans think global warming is real and occurring, but many do not understand how it will affect them directly and why there is urgency to address it. So lawmakers ignore the new economic reality and take their cues from Big Oil and the rest of the powerful fossil fuel industry. Winning the hearts and minds of conservatives at the grass-roots level is what’s needed. Coming together around this issue as a body politic is the most important prerequisite for meeting this threat. We can forge consensus around climate change by focusing on how it affects the issues Americans care most about — health, jobs, the economy and geopolitical stability. Only then will more lawmakers embrace common-sense policies that promote innovation and investment in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
Kathleen Biggins, Princeton, N.J.
The writer is founder and president of C-Change Conversations, a nonprofit that promotes nonpartisan discussion and engagement on climate change.