Welcome!

I am in my thirty-ninth year of service representing the 36th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. I am a retired teacher and school administrator, having been employed by the Fairfax County Public Schools for nearly 30 years. Serving as your delegate is now my full-time focus.

This website is intended to assist us in communicating with each other. I hope that you will subscribe to my electronic newsletter, Virginia e-News, that is emailed every Wednesday. Each week I share my thoughts on a pressing issue or human interest item in the form of a commentary. Read this week’s commentary below. In the newsletter you’ll also find a bulletin board of local information and a calendar of events happening in our community.

Please let me hear from you on your needs and interests. I am honored to represent you and here to serve you as effectively as I can.

Ken Plum.

Delegate Ken Plum’s Commentary

A Warning Too Dire to Ignore

October 17, 2018

Information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month

For those who like to plan where will you will be and what you will be doing in twenty years a complicating factor that has for too long been ignored must be considered: climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change brought together by the United Nations issued a report earlier this month, written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries and based on a review of more than 6,000 scientific reports, predicting much more dire consequences of climate change much earlier than previously had been expected.

Conditions that have been visibly happening with much more regularity in recent years of intense rains and hurricanes, droughts, excessive heat, flooding, and wildfires will be getting worse. Forget retirement to that beach house you have been fixing up; there is a high probability it may be under water as the beach disappears. Rising costs of living may eat into our retirement savings yielding them inadequate.

What about life for our children and grandchildren? What will it be like? The evidence presented is too compelling to ignore. To sustain a future quality of life for our posterity we must take aggressive action now.

As reported in The New York Times, the authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels by 2040 inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. The new report shows that many of the most serious changes will come much earlier than expected.

The report said that to prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. The use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40 percent today to less than 7 percent. Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which makes up about 20 percent of electricity generation, would have to increase to as much as 67 percent.

While the report talks about the science involved, the politics of the issue present the greatest challenge. With a federal administration filled with climate-change deniers and with a pledge to bring back coal for greater energy production, there seems to be a great likelihood that the United States will indeed withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. (Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. wouldn’t actually be able to withdraw until November 2020.) The administration also may eliminate more regulations that were put in place to reduce climate change if those regulations stand in the way of greater business profits.

Until sanity returns at the national level, it is important that actions–as small as they may seem–be taken at state, local, community and family levels to preserve our climate and our planet. We have a responsibility to our children and others to live our lives in a way that recognizes the clear and present dangers our planet faces. The warning is too dire to ignore.


Previous commentaries are available here.