Act collectively to solve climate change

In his latest column (“Maybe there really isn’t anything we can do about the weather”), Roger Marolt seems to be doing his darnedest to not come to terms with a very simple truth: We can’t solve climate change, or any other big societal problem, simply through individual acts of virtue. It takes collective action.

You recycle, you swap your light bulbs for LEDs, maybe you even drive an electric car or have solar on your roof. Good for you. But there are not enough people like you who can afford to do such things and/or are willing to put up with the inconvenience to make enough of a difference.

To scale up our response to climate change, we need to take it out of the realm of morality and tackle it with economics. Let’s flip the incentives by putting a price on carbon, so that doing the right thing for the planet is the most affordable and convenient option. Then everybody will choose to be part of the solution.

Carbon pricing is an approach that most economists, both conservative and liberal, support, and economic modeling shows it works. There are a few variations on the policy, but the one that’s gaining favor is called Carbon Fee and Dividend. You can read all about it at

Yes, getting such a policy enacted will be hard. It will require joining hands to do something together, realizing that individually we cannot do enough.

Back in the good old days, when we faced big, collective challenges, Americans willingly embarked on big, collective projects: railroads, interstate highways, the electric grid. We didn’t win WWII with individual feel-good gestures, we did it by mobilizing fighting forces and redeploying whole industries and purchasing war bonds. Why shouldn’t we respond to climate change with similar collective resolve?

Dave Reed