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Kennedy on climate: Think long-term, Las Vegas

If you haven’t kept up with this son of American political royalty, RFK’s third child, now 64, has been an attorney and leading environmental activist for decades

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. shared a few minutes to talk about climate and water and us.

He says Las Vegas needs to think long-term to survive this hotter, drier world.

“And that plan probably means curtailing development, and investing in conservation and investing in making this city really a model sustainable city for the rest of the globe,” Kennedy says.

Kennedy arrived on a day Lake Mead, our principal source of drinking water, sat at just over 1,078 feet.

In 2020, it’s expected to dip below 1,075 feet, triggering a shortage that could curtail water deliveries along the Colorado River basin, although local water officials say Las Vegas has conserved so much water that any cut to our allotment would not be felt -- at least not yet.

If you haven’t kept up with this son of American political royalty, RFK’s third child, now 64, has been an attorney and leading environmental activist for decades.

RELATED | Climate Watchers: Scientists track warming trend in Southern Nevada

News 3 met him at Dona Maria's in downtown Las Vegas, along with a crowd of people who wanted to hear about his organization, the Waterkeeper Alliance, which protects waterways around the world.

His visit here comes four days after the Trump Administration released a climate report that said climate change could cost the country billions.

“Our national economy over the next decade is going to lose 10 percent of value because of climate change,” Kennedy said.

Some conservatives are skeptical.

Even the president said he didn't believe the report, and his administration released it on Black Friday when most of us were shopping.

But in a back room at Dona Maria's, filled with elected officials, activists and dozens of others, there's no debate climate change is real.

Kennedy says he sees it first-hand.

“I myself am an environmental refugee. I had to evacuate my home because of the California fires,” Kennedy says.

Kennedy says we can tame our climate. “The thing that gives me hope is that we have the technology to solve these problems,” he says. He points to solar, which he says is now cheaper to build than a power plant that burns coal.

“There’s no economic reason to use carbon fuels anymore. The real issue is the political issue,” he says.

And you can't talk to a Kennedy without a nod to their political history.

Fifty-five years ago last week, his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas. It's been 50 years since his dad was killed in Los Angeles.

What would they think of America in 2018?

“I think they would be disappointed with the way that America is going,” Kennedy says.

A divided country facing many challenges, not the least of which is a climate that is changing.

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