Mind­ing the cli­mate

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT -

Ihad to agree with Eve Brooks’ letter (“CHIPing away at chil­dren’s health”) re­gard­ing the need for Congress to re­store fund­ing for the CHIP pro­gram. But the tax bill passed by con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans in­clud­ing Tom Garrett, Dave Brat, and Rob Wittman also missed a golden op­por­tu­nity to act on a real-world so­lu­tion to cli­mate change: charg­ing fees on fos­sil fu­els and re­turn­ing all pro­ceeds to Amer­i­can fam­i­lies.

We tend to view cli­mate change in out­dated terms — that it is a science con­tro­versy or a po­lar­ized po­lit­i­cal bat­tle. None of this is real. Cli­mate change is a risk to our­selves — for ex­am­ple the in­tense hur­ri­canes and wild­fires of 2017 — but more im­por­tantly a loom­ing threat to our grand­chil­dren, sim­i­lar to the fed­eral deficits that Repub­li­cans mem­bers of Congress love to talk about but which they just ex­panded by $150 bil­lion dol­lars per year. In the real world, cli­mate change is an eco­nomic chal­lenge of tran­si­tion­ing our en­ergy econ­omy, from fos­sil fu­els to forms of elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion and trans­porta­tion that do not emit car­bon diox­ide.

The Repub­li­can Party has re­fused gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion as a cli­mate so­lu­tion for rea­sons of prin­ci­ple. A rev­enue neu­tral method of pric­ing car­bon is an in­surance pro­gram for our na­tional and plan­e­tary fu­ture — on the chance that the sci­en­tists ac­tu­ally know what they are talk­ing about. It is in the­ory also con­sis­tent with Repub­li­can prin­ci­ples. I sug­gest that your read­ers call their mem­ber of Congress and ask him [or her] to pledge to sup­port such a bill — and in the mean­time to im­me­di­ately seek a mem­ber of the other po­lit­i­cal party with whom to en­ter the House Bi­par­ti­san Cli­mate So­lu­tions Cau­cus.

Pric­ing car­bon has the po­ten­tial to cut car­bon emis­sions more deeply than any other ap­proach, to ex­pand re­new­able en­ergy jobs sharply, and to ac­tu­ally put more money into the pock­ets of low in­come Amer­i­cans than it takes out. It's past time for this to hap­pen.


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