With a carbon tax, politics is less taxing (letter) | VailDaily.com

With a carbon tax, politics is less taxing (letter)

Seventy-five percent of years go by faster than average. That’s technically true (thanks to leap years), but for the longest stretch, it felt, if anything, like an understatement to me. I would always reach December, and, in disbelief, gawk at the passing of another 12 months. Not in 2018.

I think the difference is the news cycle. We’ve all noticed it. Important things seem to be happening at a faster-than-usual rate. To keep some perspective, I always have to ask myself: “will I care about this story – will I even remember it – in a decade?” For all but a few headlines, I can confidently answer in the negative. That doesn’t mean the stories aren’t important, just that they don’t need to stop me dead in my tracks and make me drop my iPad (plus, screen repairs were getting expensive). But a few stories are harder to shake using this tactic. When I read about any one of the latest climate reports, I have a hard time telling myself that the passage of time will do anything to help.

Indeed, on its own, it won’t. But we have agency here. Ultimately, solutions will have to be political. A price on putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – what’s known as a carbon tax – is a solution I’ve chosen to focus on.

And I’m not the only one. A bit over a year ago, I joined the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. They fight, hard, but respectfully, for one of these carbon taxes. In fact, they’ve been on a bit of a roll lately. A bill based closely on their advocacy was recently introduced in the US House and the Senate – with bipartisan co-sponsorship in both chambers. It’s called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. I suspect we may all be hearing a bit more about it in the next Congress. So get ahead of the curve, and check it out. While you’re at it, tell Senators Bennet and Gardner to do the same.

I started volunteering with CCL out of a concern for the world outside me. What I did not anticipate was that it would help me deal with the news cycle. Aside from being much more informed on at least one issue, I now feel that I am having a positive impact on our politics. That sense of agency makes a difference — internally as well as externally, it turns out.

Daniel Palken


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