U.S. needs to go 'further and faster' to achieve climate goals, lawmakers say 

Bill Forte from North Sky Communications works on a fiber optic line during a heat wave gripping the Pacific Northwest in Lake Forest Park, Washington, U.S., June 26, 2021.
Karen Ducey | Reuters

With extreme heat waves and climate-related disasters becoming more frequent across the U.S., some politicians are becoming more urgent in their call for action. 

"The climate change bomb has gone off. … The earth is screaming at us," Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." 

"There's good news," he added, noting that "this is a solvable problem. But we need to stop using fossil fuels. That is the only solution to this massive assault on humanity."  

The governor underscored both short-term measures and longer-timeline initiatives to reduce fossil fuel usage. Washington state is switching to electric-powered ferries and stopping the sale of internal combustion cars after 2035, said Inslee. He noted "tremendous action" has been taken as a result of  President Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act. 

Palm Springs Mayor Grace Elena Garner, who also spoke on "This Week," highlighted the need for further resources from the federal government. 

"In the short term, I would love to see us put more funding towards electric vehicles, towards walking and biking paths for more shade. And we are doing that in Palm Springs. … Those are really quick short-term solutions," said Garner. 

She emphasized more funds for housing development are needed to ensure residents don't have to live outside in worsening environmental conditions. 

 "We don't have enough money to build housing as rapidly as we need to. And there's a lot of roadblocks even when we do have the funds. So anything that we can do to make sure that people are having safe places to live is of vital importance," Garner said. 

The U.S. must lead the climate fight "not just from a moral standpoint, but from [its] self-interest standpoint," Inslee said. He noted the potential for new jobs and economic revitalization, such as battery companies coming into the Midwest and pivoting the "Rust Belt" into the "Silicon Belt." 

"This thing is now the age of consequences. The bomb has gone off, but we do have the ability to restrain fossil fuels. If we make the commitments we need," said Inslee.