“Political leaders, faith leaders and scientists from around the nation and the world need to come together to combat climate disruption,” Kumar Barve, Chairman of the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee, said, ahead of the crucial Paris climate summit,. “We must work globally for strong carbon reductions goals in the near term and toward total carbon neutrality for future generations,” he said.
Kumar Barve was the first Indian American elected to serve in a state legislature in United States history. He has represented a Montgomery County district in the Maryland House of Delegates since 1990. He is now running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland’s 8th Congressional district which encompasses parts of Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll Counties.
Barve has been in legislative leadership for much of his career, serving as House Majority Leader from 2003-2014 and now as Chairman of the House Environment and Transportation Committee. His committee has oversight of the environment, land use, state ethics and transportation policy.
As Majority Leader, Barve was the floor leader for the Democratic Party and a senior member of the fiscal leadership in the House. He helped guide policies that resulted in balanced budgets and the maintenance of the state’s Triple-A bond rating.
Barve, who represents Rockville and Gaithersburg in the House of Delegates, told two basic stories, one as an immigrant and the other as “a liberal accountant,” reflecting his private-sector career as chief financial officer for an environmental cleanup company and two decades in Annapolis. As head of the Environment and Transportation Committee, he shepherded a moratorium on fracking to approval.
Several Hindu organizations have joined Barve and issued a joint climate change declaration, calling for a complete transition to clean energy as rapidly as possible. “A transition towards using 100 percent clean energy is desperately needed as rapidly as is possible in every nation,” the declaration, signed by over 60 Hindu organizations and spiritual leaders, including head of Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, said.
The ‘Hindu Declaration on Climate Change’ was authored by the Bhumi Project and the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, with support from the Hindu American Foundation. Making the transition to clean energy provides the only basis for sustainable, continued human development and is the best hope for billions of people without electricity or clean cooking facilities to live better lives and reduce poverty, the declaration said.
“Such action must be scientifically credible and historically fair, based on deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through a transition away from polluting technologies, especially away from fossil fuels,” it said. “We must consider the effects of our actions not just on ourselves and those humans around us, but also on all beings. We have a dharmic duty for each of us to do our part in ensuring that we have a functioning, abundant, and bountiful planet,” the declaration said.
Issued in Boston, ahead of the Paris Summit on Climate Change beginning Nov. 30, the declaration said strong, meaningful action must be taken, at both the international and national level to prevent climate change.