Tim Kaine: Solution to climate change is American innovation

kaine new2Monday night, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine joined more than 25 members of the Senate Climate Action Task Force for a rare all-night session to call attention to the effects of climate change.  In his remarks, Kaine discussed the urgent need for Congress to act on curbing emissions and investing in innovative and clean energy solutions.

“The solution to climate change is American innovation,” Kaine said. “We have to get beyond the ideathat we need to choose between a clean environment and a strong economy. We all want cleaner air and water. We all want jobs. They don’t have to contradict each other.”

Kaine also expressed concern about the economic impact that climate change will have on communities throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in Hampton Roads, home to the largest naval station in the world, Naval Station Norfolk.

“In Virginia, we’ve got huge areas of risk of the negative impacts of climate change – especially sea level rise – all effects that can be traced to carbon pollution,” Kaine said. “The Hampton Roads area of Virginia is the second-most populous area of our state – 1.6 million people. It is the second-most vulnerable community on the east coast, after New Orleans, to sea level rise” and ”is critically vulnerable to climate change.”

“In addition to being vulnerable because of our coast, our largest industry in Virginia is agriculture and forestry. If you want to talk about an industry affected by climate, that’s your industry,” Kaine continued.

Kaine also urged his congressional colleagues to embrace an energy strategy that builds on current energy sources by making them “cleaner tomorrow than today.”

“Coal currently accounts for 37% of U.S. electricity generation. … We don’t have 37% of anything else that can step right in and replace coal, which means we need coal, we’re going to be using it for a while,” Kaine said. “The challenge is to convert coal to electricity with less pollution than we do today. We have to innovate to make coal cleaner for that portion of the pie chart.”

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