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MI Officials Urge Bold Action as COP26 Concludes

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MARTIN, Mich. -- As leaders from around the world meet in Scotland, the United States' plan to tackle climate change is coming into focus.

The Build Back Better Act in Congress would invest about $550 billion to cut the country's carbon emissions.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference is taking place in Glasgow through Friday.

Austin Marsman, 22, is a trustee for the Martin Public Schools Board of Education, and is running for Allegan County Commissioner. He said as a young person, he sees tackling climate change as the top priority.

"That creates jobs; that creates a sustainable place for future generations," Marsman asserted. "I see it as something the federal government needs to step up to the base on. Climate provisions and President (Joe) Biden's Build Back Better Act get us really close to where we need to be."

Last week, Congress passed a $1 trillion infrastructure package. Supporters are now pushing for a bigger budget reconciliation measure, which they said gives the Biden administration the tools it needs to cut the country's carbon pollution to half of 2005 levels by 2030.

Republicans remain opposed to the legislation, saying it's too costly. A potential vote on it could come next week.

Marsman joined hundreds of elected officials who signed a letter to Biden asking him to declare a national climate emergency, and asking Congress to pass Build Back Better. He added tackling climate change also is creating jobs.

"We're going to need folks to construct the energy-efficient buildings that are called for in Build Back Better," Marsman stressed. "We need people who are wiring the solar panels, laying those new pipes, it's going to take all hands on deck."

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, wind-turbine technician is one of the fastest-growing careers in Michigan and the nation.

Originally from just outside Boston, Lily Bohlke is formerly from 2020Talks, a show tracking politics and elections, that started prior to the 2020 Iowa caucuses at KHOI in Ames. She's also a past intern for the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism.
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