It doesn’t seem like an outrageous statement to me to say that today, in 2015, we should listen to what scientists have to say on the major issues of the day. It just so happens that on one of the most urgent issues of our generation – the threat of global climate change – the science happens to be agreed upon. An overwhelming scientific consensus agrees – climate change is real, it will have major consequences on all of our lives, and human activity is contributing to it.

Today is Earth Day, which offers an opportunity to reflect on the challenge of climate change and what we are doing to combat it. Transportation produces an enormous percentage of our carbon emissions – about 44 percent here in Washington – and we’ll need to offer folks more choices for how to get around so we can get congestion off our roads and produce less pollution. I’ve been working hard to ensure that Sound Transit gets the full authority to make a serious investment in transit and light rail throughout the entire Puget Sound region, including rail to Ballard and projects like a light rail station at 130th St in our district.

When the Senate voted on its transportation investment proposal earlier this year, I offered an amendment to provide the full funding authority for Sound Transit – unfortunately the Republicans voted it down. Now, I’m working with Gov. Inslee and leaders in the House to ensure that the full funding is provided in whatever compromise proposal we come to between the House and the Senate on a transportation package. I was proud to stand with the Governor and other legislators at a press conference at the soon-to-open Husky Stadium light rail station in our district to discuss these efforts – you can read about it in the Seattle Times.

I’ve also worked to fund the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington in our operating budget and to maintain the governor’s authority to protect Washington’s environment with stronger clean-fuel standards.

Climate change is real and we need to take real action to protect our environment, our economy and our way of life. That means making transit investments, offering more transportation choices, ensuring cleaner fuel in our cars and building a market-based system for protecting the public from carbon emissions. These steps should not be controversial – they are smart, reasonable ways to improve people lives and protect the environment. Today, Earth Day, let’s reflect on these priorities, and move forward to protect our planet and our environment for generations to come.