When a senator is just “a normal person who normally reacts to a crazy world”
The one thing I love about this job is that even the little things are big. My work on intern pay, my work on telehealth, and my work to raise the smoking age to 21 have never been shown on “Meet the Press.” But these are some of the most significant accomplishments of my office.
Q: You chaired the special panel on the climate crisis that Senate Democrats set up in 2019. Where is the action now? How doomed is the planet without a climate bill?
A: I don’t see it that way. The tendency in Washington is to simply think of issues in binary terms, but climate is the challenge of our generation, which means we’re going to have to work on it for decades and decades and decades.
If we pass an ideal climate bill tomorrow morning, we would still be forced to continue. And if we failed to pass a bill this year, we still have to keep going. This is a planetary emergency, and both the scale of the challenge and the scale of the opportunity demand that we not allow ourselves to sink into discouragement. But neither should we engage in wishful thinking, in which we think that if we just pass a law, the planet is saved. That’s not how it works.
The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis was a way to elevate the climate issue when Democrats were not in charge. Now that we are in the driving seat, it is under the jurisdiction of the Finance Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that climate action will be undertaken.