New Hawaii Senator: Climate Change The ‘Most Urgent Challenge Of Our Generation’

By Travis Waldron on Dec 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D), who was yesterday named to fill the Senate seat vacated by the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), wants to tackle an issue that has largely disappeared from Washington’s political agenda in recent years: climate change.

Speaking briefly after being named to the seat by Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D), Schatz voiced his concern over the threat climate change poses to the world if nothing is done:

“For me, personally, I believe global climate change is real and it is the most urgent challenge of our generation,” Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D), whom Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) tapped for the seat, said in brief comments Wednesday.

While climate change poses a threat to everyone, it is particularly dangerous for the Hawaiian Islands. Sea level rises could drown its beaches and the communities around them, and two of the state’s major industries — fishing and tourism — would feel an especially large impact.

Across America, industries and the environment have been devastated by droughts and natural disasters that a changing climate has exacerbated, but little has caught the attention of policymakers. While climate change-related legislation has stalled in the U.S. in recent years, the United Nations climate summit ended earlier this month with only “modest” movement toward a deal to address the problem on a global level.

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