‘Amer­i­can spirit’ should lead to car­bon re­duc­tions

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

Thank you for pub­lish­ing Art Hob­son’s July 18 piece “The USA is in trou­ble,” which ex­poses the United States’ so­ci­etal ail­ments, pol­icy short­com­ings and col­lec­tive poverty com­pared to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

I agree with Dr. Hob­son that chal­lenges abound. De­spair and cyn­i­cism are easy; length­en­ing Dr. Hob­son’s list of com­mon ills even eas­ier, with the most ob­vi­ous ad­di­tion be­ing ad­dic­tion to fos­sil fu­els and fed­eral re­luc­tance to lead this na­tion into a health­ier en­ergy econ­omy and an en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able fu­ture.

Dr. Hob­son sug­gests learn­ing from the tem­per­a­ment and poli­cies of achiev­ing west­ern na­tions. I don’t dis­pute this, but I also be­lieve these times call us to re­mem­ber who we are. Our cup, as Dr. Hob­son notes, is in­deed half full. In­no­va­tion, lead­er­ship, gen­eros­ity, rea­son, adapt­abil­ity, in­vest­ment, re­spon­si­bil­ity and con­ser­va­tion in­form the Amer­i­can spirit.

Con­cern­ing cli­mate change, that spirit is al­ready hard at work. For ex­am­ple, here in Arkansas for­ward think­ing, methane-re­duc­ing, rice farm­ers re­cently sold their first car­bon cred­its to Mi­crosoft on Cal­i­for­nia’s car­bon mar­ket. Ad­di­tion­ally, L’Oreal’s 3,528 so­lar panel ar­ray is now on­line in North Lit­tle Rock.

Na­tional car­bon pric­ing can fur­ther cat­alyze the best of Amer­ica, em­pow­er­ing busi­nesses, con­sumers, in­no­va­tors and in­vestors to tran­si­tion us from dirty fu­els to clean. Re­search shows that well-struc­tured na­tional car­bon fee and div­i­dend pol­icy would, over 20 years, re­duce car­bon emis­sions 50 per­cent be­low 1990 lev­els, cre­ate 2.8 mil­lion ad­di­tional jobs above base­line, pro­tect mid­dle- and work­ing-class fam­i­lies, and pre­vent 230,000 pre­ma­ture deaths. That’s more than a cup half full. JAN SCHAPER Eureka Springs

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