August 8, 2021

PennFuture Letter to the Editor in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In a article (July 20, “Pa. Sen. Toomey dismisses sweeping federal investment into infrastructure to guard against extreme weather events”), Pennsylvania’s junior senator boldly claimed that climate science does not conclusively show a rise in extreme weather events in the United States.

Sen. Toomey must not have been paying attention to air quality advisories put in place recently across Pennsylvania as uncontrolled wildfires in the western United States spewed smoke across the country. He must have missed the historic heat wave in the Pacific Northwest earlier this month that killed hundreds of people, a weather event that scientists claimed was “virtually impossible” without climate change.

The list goes on: nearly a foot of rain fell in a span of a few hours last month in Bucks County, forcing the county commissioners there to issue a disaster declaration. From 2010 to 2020 alone, Pennsylvania experienced 37 extreme weather events that cost the state up to $10 billion in damage, according to the Biden administration.

Sen. Toomey said calls to tackle the climate crisis through the historic $1 trillion infrastructure package being debated in Congress are based on “misrepresentations or misunderstandings of the actual science.” It takes a hefty amount of gall to not only use cherry-picked, debunked climate change and disaster research to inform life-and-death policy decisions but also to ignore the rising number of extreme weather events harshly impacting your own constituents.

The infrastructure package represents our best chance for real, meaningful action to protect our communities from climate disasters. We simply cannot afford to allow climate deniers like Sen. Toomey to stand in the way of that action.

Our future literally depends on it.