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Scale the climate cliff

Meetings resume at Trump Tower in New York City today after the president-elect spent the weekend meeting with prominent Republicans at his golf course in New Jersey. Nov. 21, 2016. (CBS Miami)

The steep hill that climate and environmental advocates have previously faced now looks more like a sheer cliff after the election of President-elect Donald Trump ("The limits of a Trump EPA," Nov. 17). But cliffs are scalable. We may need to trade in our walking sticks for ropes, but we must not give up.

President-Elect Trump has made various pledges concerning environmental policy during his campaign, ranging from "canceling" the Paris Agreement, scrapping the Clean Power Plan, to pulling funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Trump has claimed that climate change is nothing but a hoax invented by the Chinese. Furthermore, Mr. Trump has promised to support development of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. After only one day as president-elect, Mr. Trump appointed a climate change denier, Myron Ebell, to lead his EPA transition team. Such as appointment seems to suggest that Mr. Trump will make good on his promise to "get rid of [the EPA] in almost every form."

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While Mr. Trump cannot necessarily follow through on every claim that he has made, his election nevertheless presents an incredible challenge to environmental and climate advocates. However, it does not mean those of us who believe we need to take action to protect the environment and curb global warming should give up. In fact, it is more important than ever to take action, as action is the antidote to despair. There is still hope in Congress. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican from Florida, has been a strong conservative voice on climate change, and he was just re-elected. He is a founding member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, and he co-signed the Republican-led Gibson resolution which acknowledges the challenge of climate change.

A great first step is to reach out to our own local representatives and urge them to follow the bipartisan model set up by Mr. Curbelo and his Democratic partner, Rep. Ted Deutch, a Florida Democrat. We need to convince our political leaders and representatives to work across the aisle in order to confront the problems facing the environment and climate. The safest time to talk to elected officials is just after an election has taken place. There is no campaigning or worry about how their actions will be perceived externally. It is also a great time to reach out to Republican leaders as the safest time to talk to either party is when they're in the majority, and the Republicans now have the White House, the House and the Senate. Now is the time to show up in force, make our positions known and present policy proposals to those that can make something happen. Let's make Maryland an example of how to scale this cliff.

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Scott Armstrong, Baltimore

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