MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia Center on Climate Change will be hosting a public climate change webinar called “What Now? – Climate Solutions in 2021, and Securing a Just Transition for West Virginia” on Monday, January 25th from 7-8:30 pm. The webinar is free and open for anyone to attend. During the event, speakers will be discussing what climate change solutions we might expect to see in the state and national legislature in 2021.
“I’m going to talk about a new energy jobs package, of bills that I’m introducing in the legislature next month, and these are new policies that will create lots of West Virginia jobs and attract businesses to the state,” said Evan Hansen, Member of the House of Delegates, “and they’ll save tax payers money, and they’ll also bring more opportunities to the communities that have been the hardest hit by the decline of the coal industry.”
As well as a delegate, Evan Hansen is the President of Downstream Strategies. The environmental and development consulting firm provides expertise in environmental science, water and energy policy, and aquatic ecology, among other things.
“I’m excited to get back to work and see what we can get done in a bipartisan manner,” Hansen said, “It’s going to require working together to get any of these things done, but I think there are things that we can do that create jobs and save taxpayer money; but at the same time they help address climate change.”
Another speaker, Molly Christian, is a senior energy policy reporter for S&P Global Market Intelligence in Washington, DC. She covers the intersection of federal policy and the utility sector, with a particular focus on Congress. Previously, she reported on U.S. coal markets at S&P and Argus Media.
The final billed speaker is Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, the National Organizer and Spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Change. The organization believes that climate action is tied with Christian’s responsibility to take care of the earth.
“We don’t really consider ourselves environmentalists or even climate activists, even though a lot of what we do fits under those labels and we often have common cause with environmentalists and climate activists,” explained Meyaard-Schaap, “but really, at the end of the day, we understand our motivation to be our faith. We are doing this because we are trying to follow Jesus as faithfully as we can in a warming world. We’re trying to be as faithful as we can be to Jesus’s commandment to love God and love our neighbors, and we believe acting on climate change is an opportunity for us and for church to get better at both of those things.”
The group seeks to spread their message with other Christians and work with legislatures on passing climate change legislation that is mindful of affected communities.
“We need to honor the fact that workers in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Ohio have powered the United States and the industrial revolution in the US for the last 100+ years, and that is a huge shift,” said Meyaard-Schaap, “and we need to have gratitude for that even though we now know some of the unintended consequences of that work, and as we transition into more sustainable energy sources, the way we need to show our gratitude and to honor those workers is to put them at the front of the line and say, ‘We want you to power America in the 21st century too, with these new technologies, and we’re going to make sure you’re trained and you know how to do it so that you can continue to serve your families.’”
Registration to attend the webinar is free and available online.