Vail Daily letter: We need to act now on climate change
July 16, 2017
We need to act on climate change
The letter titled "Climate change denial has disastrous impact" (Tuesday, July 4) says climate change can be "catastrophic for a sustainable economy," noting the effects it's already having on snowfall in the Vail and Aspen areas. This is only the beginning.
The world's most highly cited peer-reviewed scientific journal, Nature, reports that climate change may cost more than $369 trillion. The world's best climate scientists and economists have said that continued burning of fossil fuels will cause "global economic collapse," followed by "societal collapse" (National Academy of Sciences/IPCC).
What most people seem unaware of is that even if we could stop burning fossil fuels today, globally, we'd still face about 30 more years of worsening climate change. That's because it takes about three decades for carbon emissions to heat up and affect our global temperatures. And those emissions won't dissipate for millennia, so we won't be able to turn down the global thermostat, no matter how hot it gets (skepticalscience.org).
That's why it's so important that we act now and why climate-change denial is so dangerous. It counsels delay. This costs lives. Climate change already kills more than 5 million people annually (DARA). Carbon pollution kills more than 5.5 million each year (Time). This is nothing compared to what's to come.
But we can avoid the worst effects of future climate change by using carbon pricing, which can phase out fossil fuels within the next decade (Newsweek), soon enough to avert "catastrophic" climate change (IPCC). "Carbon fee-and-dividend" is a proven carbon-pricing mechanism that doesn't punish consumers or taxpayers; it rewards them.
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It's a carbon tax that's paid, not to the government, but to the taxpayer in equal monthly "carbon dividend" checks. The tax/fee goes up every year, and so do your "dividends." If you switch to clean energy, then you don't pay the carbon tax, but you still get the "dividend" money. So you save more every year, as clean-energy prices continue to plummet, already becoming as cheap or cheaper than fossil fuels. That's projected to increase gross domestic product over $75 billion annually (citizensclimatelobby.org).
Carbon-fee-and-dividend is designed to have a global impact, using market forces to make other nations cut their emissions as much as we do, and it's a bipartisan solution to climate change that uses the market, rather than government regulations or expenditures, so it can have conservative/GOP support in Congress, especially since it will jump-start a $50 trillion industry (Bloomberg) and create more than 5 million good-paying, permanent, local jobs, more than 70,000 in Colorado (Stanford University's solutionsproject.org).
It's worked as promised in British Columbia for eight years now, lowering taxes and energy bills (The Economist). Clean energy will be nearly free there within 20 years (Washington Post).
Go to the Citizens Climate Lobby website to see how we can make it happen.
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