The Earth needs our help! In 2015, Pope Francis issued an encyclical calling for those who have contributed the most to climate change to do their part in restoring our world. As the largest historical contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, the United States has a moral and practical responsibility to reach net zero emissions by 2050. I have joined state legislators across the United States calling on the federal government to strengthen our national climate commitments at COP26 this week.

We see firsthand the impacts of climate change in North Dakota. We face less predictable moisture, flooding, and droughts. These threaten our waterways and farmland, and the livelihood of our communities. Just this week our legislative committees approved infrastructure spending in the millions of dollars, much related to climate change.

In these divisive times, there can be reluctance to cooperate, let alone collaborate, with those we rarely see eye-to-eye with. But as a public official who knows North Dakotans as people of faith, it is imperative to not let climate solutions be another wedge which divides us further. Rather, let us “work together in building our common home,” and commit to bold solutions today, to avoid an uninhabitable tomorrow.

Sen. Tim Mathern, Fargo

Mathern has been a senator with the Democratic NPL party since 1986 and is on the appropriations committee.