Some of us knew people who were affected by Hurricane Sandy a year ago. Fueled by ocean waters that were 5 degrees warmer than normal, it was the deadliest hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season; killing 285 people, leaving tens of thousands homeless, and causing $60 billion in destruction.
Hurricanes happen regardless of climate change, but warmer atmospheric temperatures affect their intensity and behavior. Scientists are 95 percent certain that Earth is warming because we’re burning fossil fuels, whose price does not reflect costs like extreme weather damage due to a destabilized climate.
A revenue-neutral carbon tax and dividend will decrease the fossil fuel emissions. The tax placed on carbon-based fuels at the well, mine or port of entry that increases steadily each year so that clean energy is cheaper than fossil fuels in a decade (see www.CitizensClimateLobby.org). The dividend is distributed equally to all Americans, shielding us from the impact of higher energy costs.
As we transition to a clean energy economy, we’ll lower the level of carbon dioxide causing our warming atmosphere.
The additional cost of a carbon tax doesn’t compare to the increased volatility and severe Sandy superstorms that come with a changing climate.
I trust the lesson has been learned in the recent congressional debacle over the debt ceiling that intransigent ideologues attempting to impose their personal agendas is a losing strategy, and is conducted at the expense of the electorate. Any such further behavior in the coming challenge to resolve the debt issues for the long term will only serve to ensure that incumbents will be summarily swept out of office. I wholeheartedly agree with Sen. John McCain who called the ugly spectacle “a fool’s errand.”
To this point, resolution of the issue has once again been deferred in the manner of kicking the can down the road. Certainly, government spending must be reined in, but it can only be done by representatives who engage in the debate in a spirit of mutual honor and respect, whose hearts are sincerely devoted to the country’s best interests. We want, indeed we need, our national leaders to restore a disposition of civility in the governing process.