Congress out of excuses for climate change

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Congress out of excuses for climate change

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:37 pm

Congress out of excuses for climate change
Pam McVety, My View 12:06 a.m. EST January 1, 2015

Over the last decade or so, members of Congress, like Florida’s Marco Rubio, have come up with lots of excuses about why they can’t take action to stop climate change. Most people would agree that climate change deniers have lost the argument on the science, leaving the most often repeated other excuses being: It will hurt our economy. It will keep us from being energy independent. And the lamest one of all: It doesn’t matter if America cuts its carbon emissions if China, the world’s largest emitter, doesn’t. All three of these excuses are no longer valid and it is time for Congress to take action to cut carbon emissions and switch this country to renewable energy.

•Cutting carbon emissions won’t hurt our economy. In June of this year, Citizens Climate Lobby released a study from the highly respected firm, Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), that showed that a steadily-rising fee on the carbon dioxide content of fossil fuels — with the revenue from the fee returned to all households — would add 2.8 million jobs after 20 years and cut carbon emissions by 50 percent.

This happens because of the economic stimulus of recycling the carbon fee revenue into the pockets of people who are likely to spend the money. It includes a border tariff, which would protect American business by placing a tariff on imported goods from countries with no carbon fee of their own, a powerful incentive for other countries to follow our lead. The study also showed that thousands of lives are saved by reducing toxic pollutants.

This market-based solution is called a revenue-neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend and is supported by leading conservatives like former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson.

•America can be energy independent. In fact, America is close to being energy independent, but we could become truly energy independent if we switch 100 percent of our energy from fossil fuels to renewables. A study released in 2013, entitled “The Solutions Project” prepared by Mark Jacobson at Stanford University indicates that, using current technology, we can generate enough energy with renewables and improved efficiency to meet 100 percent of our energy needs. Their proposal would create millions of jobs, reduce air pollution related deaths, reduce health costs and decrease global climate change costs. By 2050 energy costs would be saving each of us $6,500 per year.

•China and America agree to cut carbon emissions. President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have announced an agreement between the world’s two largest carbon polluters to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for much of global warming. Obama pledged that the U.S. would emit 26 to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. China agreed it would cap and start to reduce emissions no later than 2030, a remarkable commitment for a nation undergoing the most explosive industrial growth in the history of civilization.

I am sure that Congress can come up with more excuses why they shouldn’t act to cut carbon emissions, but most people will recognize these excuses as a cover for continuing support of the fossil fuel industry. There just are not any sound reasons not to take action to cut carbon emissions in light of the increasingly costly and devastating impacts of climate change.

Congress is right about one thing as it relates to energy ... it should be the one to take action to cut carbon emissions. Cutting our carbon emissions through rule-making, as the President proposes, is laudable and necessary if Congress won’t act, but difficult, expensive and piecemeal. If we are to cut our carbon emissions in time to avoid the worsening impacts of climate change, Congress needs to support a comprehensive approach that includes a Carbon Fee and Dividend to incentivize renewable energy development and improved energy efficiencies.

Pam McVety is a biologist and Citizens Climate Lobby member.

source ... /21117731/
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