Minding the climate

I had to agree with Eve Brooks’ letter (“CHIPing away at children’s health“) regarding the need for Congress to restore funding for the CHIP program. But the tax bill passed by congressional Republicans including Tom Garrett, Dave Brat, and Rob Wittman also missed a golden opportunity to act on a real-world solution to climate change: charging fees on fossil fuels and returning all proceeds to American families.

We tend to view climate change in outdated terms — that it is a science controversy or a polarized political battle. None of this is real. Climate change is a risk to ourselves — for example the intense hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 — but more importantly a looming threat to our grandchildren, similar to the federal deficits that Republicans members of Congress love to talk about but which they just expanded by $150 billion dollars per year. In the real world, climate change is an economic challenge of transitioning our energy economy, from fossil fuels to forms of electricity generation and transportation that do not emit carbon dioxide.

The Republican Party has refused government regulation as a climate solution for reasons of principle. A revenue neutral method of pricing carbon is an insurance program for our national and planetary future — on the chance that the scientists actually know what they are talking about. It is in theory also consistent with Republican principles. I suggest that your readers call their member of Congress and ask him [or her] to pledge to support such a bill — and in the meantime to immediately seek a member of the other political party with whom to enter the House Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.

Pricing carbon has the potential to cut carbon emissions more deeply than any other approach, to expand renewable energy jobs sharply, and to actually put more money into the pockets of low income Americans than it takes out. It’s past time for this to happen.

Chris Wiegard
Chester, Va

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