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Environmental predictions made 20 years ago now evident

To the editor:

Former congressman Jim Oberstar who passed away last week did a great deal for Minnesota as chairman of the house transportation committee. I first met him over 20 years ago as a Union of Concerned Scientists member trying to convince legislators that they should take action on climate change. Jim turned out to be well versed on the climate science and a supporter for action, although this wasn’t a priority for the transportation committee. As a result of our meeting, Jim wrote an impressive op-ed for the Duluth paper warning of the danger of climate change and urging action.

Now after two decades of congressional inaction, the predictions scientists made 20 years ago are evident in our everyday environment. Last week the White House finally issued a comprehensive report detailing these adverse effects on America’s climate along with a plan for administrative action to reduce carbon emissions.

This presidential action is a start, but if the U.S. is really going to address the serious problem of climate change, it will require joint congressional and presidential action. Unfortunately, I don’t see many dedicated, pragmatic, informed legislators like Jim Oberstar around to do the job.