U.S. Representative Doris Matsui gave a great speech about climate change on Friday. She stood up and said,
“For far too long our country has ignored the blatant warning signals that climate change is real, and its effects are happening all around us, from droughts to wildfires to extreme flooding. The time to act is now. Numerous reports indicate that we are dangerously close to losing the window of opportunity in which we can meaningfully address climate change… Now is the time for Congress to follow their lead and show that we, too, are committed to mitigating and reversing the devastating effects of climate change. Failure to heed new warnings and take action will have drastic economic and environmental effects, not just for our generation, but for our children and grandchildren. The time to act is now.”
You heard Representative Matsui. The time to act is now! Right… now! Hm. Nothing happened.
When Doris Matsui says, “now”, what she seems to actually mean is “later”. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Doris Matsui has the power to introduce legislation. She doesn’t need anyone else’s permission. She doesn’t need to wait. She could introduce a comprehensive climate bill right now (well, okay, not right now, because it’s Sunday, and Monday is a national holiday, but come Tuesday, Matsui could introduce that legislation right then). Matsui has had more than a month in the 113th Congress to introduce comprehensive climate legislation, but she hasn’t. Matsui hasn’t co-sponsored anyone else’s climate legislation, either.
If Doris Matsui really wanted to see climate legislation in Congress, she could introduce some herself. She hasn’t. That inaction makes her demands that other members of Congress take climate action “now” ring hollow. The time for congressional talking about climate change is over. Doris Matsui is right that the time to act on climate change is now, but as an elected political leader, she needs to follow her own advice.