Letter: Use market forces to reduce carbon emissions
October 18, 2014
Climate change is way too important an issue to be turned into a sport of partisan point-scoring, as in recent opinion pieces in your paper.
What a waste of valuable time, debating how "settled" the science of climate is! Are we 75 percent sure that humans are causing climate change or 90 percent or 95 percent? Who cares? Either way, there's an extraordinary amount of agreement about the nature of the problem, with some margin for error.
We can find things to disagree about all day long, and where does that get us? It produces paralysis and inaction, like what we see in Congress.
Citizens' Climate Lobby, of which I'm a member, chooses to focus on the common ground where we can get things done and advocates for a nonpartisan solution to global warming that we can all more or less agree on.
As it happens, there's also extraordinary agreement among economists — on the right and on the left — that putting a price on carbon emissions is the surest and most painless way to reduce climate change. Indeed, recent economic modeling suggests that taxing fossil fuels and then returning all the revenue to households equally as a dividend — a policy known as "carbon fee and dividend" — would actually create jobs and boost the economy as well as preventing thousands of deaths from air pollution.
In other words, it doesn't even matter whether the climate is changing or not. This is a policy worth doing for the economic and health benefits alone. (But for the record, it would cut emissions by 50 percent in 20 years.)
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Conservatives and liberals, get your heads around the idea of using market forces to reduce carbon emissions. The sooner we find common ground on this, the better for all of us.