Climate moving toward center stage in Colorado gubernatorial race (letter) | VailDaily.com

Climate moving toward center stage in Colorado gubernatorial race (letter)

Re: Your article "Candidates differ vastly on climate, energy," (Saturday, Oct. 27): Reading between the lines, there is cause for optimism here, whatever the outcome of the election.

Let's start with the fact that energy and the environment are, suddenly, at the center of our most important statewide election. As someone deeply concerned with the health of our planet, I am often disheartened during election run-ups — state and national — as this most important of issues takes a backseat to, well, virtually everything else. This time, things seem to be trending a bit differently, with both candidates for governor devoting meaningful time to making their cases to the voters they are asking to serve.

Fully aware that I should be careful what I wish for, I would nonetheless like to see this trend extended to our national politics. I think, despite the broad divisions in America, climate and energy policy may actually present an opportunity for much-needed compromise.

The fact that Jared Polis was touting market-based approaches to climate change offers a clue as to why. In particular, his party is not the only one from which market-based climate solutions are emerging of late. One of the most intriguing pieces of climate legislation this year included a price on carbon dioxide emissions, and it was proposed by Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida.

Just as Republicans should pay heed to Rep. Curbelo and not see climate change as an issue whose solutions necessarily pose threats to our economy, Democrats should rally around market-based approaches as not merely those most likely to achieve bipartisan consensus but as the most effective tools we can conceive. Don't believe me? Ask William Nordhaus, who just won the Nobel Prize in economics and argues that nothing disincentivizes emitting greenhouse gases quite like having to pay to do so.

The fact that the environment is occupying center debate stage is a promising indicator. After the election, Jared Polis or Walker Stapleton — whoever is elected — should reach across the aisle and see if the other side might not be interested in policy that protects our climate without hurting our economy, and we as citizens should encourage them to do so.

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Daniel Palken

Boulder