As we enter another hurricane season, we are reminded of the toll that climate change is taking on our planet. Warmer ocean water higher water levels can lead to more intense tropical storms and hurricanes, causing untold damage to coastal communities. We often hear from climate change deniers of the cost of mitigating the effects of climate change. But seeing the increasing intensity of devastating events and the damage they leave behind, it’s time to think about how much it will cost us if we don’t do anything.

As Wisconsinites, we are lucky to live far enough away from the east coast that we are unaffected by hurricanes, no matter their intensity. However, we are still being affected by a changing climate. Increased precipitation is leading to more flooding throughout the state that has lasting effects. Indeed, we saw areas affected by 2018 summer rains still retaining water into 2019.

Increased flooding will wreak havoc on Wisconsin famers, who are already suffering under a changing economic landscape and crushing tariffs. Warmer winters will have a detrimental effect on cold weather activities in Wisconsin, such as skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Climate change is not an abstract menace. It has real effects, and we are seeing them in real time.

We need to take concrete steps to curb climate change and fight the pollution that worsens it. This session I will be reintroducing a bill that reinstates stronger environmental protections for mining operations in Wisconsin. The bill will include an anti-pollution measure that was removed by the majority party last session. That measure simply states that a mining company must be able to prove that there will be no pollution created by their operations; if they cannot, they will not be allowed to mine in Wisconsin. We should not permit companies to knowingly pollute in our state, allowing them to contribute to the climate change crisis.

I was also pleased to see Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to eliminate carbon-based fuel in Wisconsin by 2050. Switching from finite sources like coal to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy will be a vital change in the next few decades. It is refreshing to see leadership in Wisconsin that understands the urgency and reality of climate change on our planet.

More work needs to be done. If we continue to go down the path of ignoring the problem, pretending it doesn’t exist, or reject it for partisan reasons, we are failing future generations. We all want to leave the world a better place for our children and our grandchildren. It’s time to take action to achieve that goal, both in Wisconsin and nationwide.

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