Letter: Do your part to fight climate change

Re: “Climate change is a moral failure” (Commentary, The Aspen Times, April 27), most Americans have no idea they’re ignoring an existential crisis that’s already killing 300,000 people annually, according to the World Health Organization, and will probably cost the lives of millions, possibly hundreds of millions, according to the International Panel on Climate Change. This is, in large part, because of inadequate, inaccurate, confusing and sometimes downright dishonest reporting on climate change in the media.

Some Americans are taken in by the scam of climate-change denial, a sophisticated and cynical multimillion-dollar operation clandestinely funded by the fossil-fuel industry, according to Scientific American online’s “Dark Money” and “How to Win Friends and Bamboozle People About Climate Change” and “Merchants of Doubt” on YouTube. These people don’t realize they’re being lied to and being fed pseudoscience that exists only in the right-wing media and is in direct opposition to the peer-reviewed science of over 97 percent of climate scientists, according to the National Academy of Sciences website.

Polls show a clear majority of Americans understand climate change is a danger, but they have no idea how serious it is, how little time is left to avert catastrophic global warming or what should be done. Many are, understandably, reluctant to support climate action because some politicians say it will hurt the economy, cost jobs, raise their taxes and/or lead to government overreach and regulation.

The volunteer, nonpartisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby has a market solution to climate change that won’t hurt consumers or taxpayers. In fact, it will create millions of new jobs and add $75 billion to $80 billion annually to gross domestic product, according to Regional Economic Models Inc. It’s supported by 2,500 major economists, nine Nobel Prize winners among them, according to Wikipedia.

The plan uses free-market economics, not government regulations. It will give us locally produced and locally controlled energy that will be cheaper, cleaner, safer and more resilient than fossil fuels, and at last, we’ll have real energy independence. Area windmills or rooftop solar panels can power our homes, cars and businesses; in fact, they can easily power the world many times over, according to Stanford University’s Mark Jacobson.

All we need to do is tax fossil fuels more each year and return all of the tax money to every American, equally, every month, so they can buy cheaper clean energy at a profit. Also, tax imports from China increasingly more, too, till it cuts its emissions. Return all the import tax money to Americans, and they’ll buy cheaper U.S. products. The plan is called “fee and dividend” because fossil-fuel corporations will pay a pollution fee and it will be paid directly to us every month as a “dividend.”

All we lack is the political will to make this happen. Check the Citizens’ Climate Lobby website, and if you support what you see there, tell others about it and let your representatives in Congress know you want them to support Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s “fee and dividend” plan. According to the world’s most respected climate scientist, James Hansen, that’s the single most important thing you can do about climate change. Clearly, it’s the moral thing to do.

Pete Kuntz