I would like to celebrate the 40 young members of Sunrise Movement Asheville who had the courage to exercise civil disobedience on Dec. 6 by occupying Asheville City Hall [“Sunrise Movement Occupies City Hall Over Climate Emergency,” Dec. 11, Xpress]. We’re in a situation where climate change has been well understood and documented for more than 30 years. Today’s youths, who are projected to suffer the worst effects of the climate change crisis, look around and see literally every level of government that represents them ignore their pleas.
As an older millennial who now has my own toddler’s future to think about, this sense of frustration is familiar to me. This motivation has driven me to volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, pressing Congress for action on climate change. I believe we need a federal carbon fee and dividend as a first step toward climate change action. Canada has already implemented a national policy like this. Almost all economists believe that a CF&D solution is not only the fastest way to shift our economy away from carbon, but the dividend component delivers the greatest benefit to lower-income families, and so it’s a progressive policy.
In addition to paying our teachers more, expanding Medicaid and fixing our occupancy tax, my frustration in seeing a lack of action on climate change is also one of the reasons why I’m running to be our next state senator. In North Carolina, we urgently need to force Duke Energy to sprint to zero-carbon energy production. The U.N. Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C [of 2018] provides a clear mandate: We’re in a state of emergency, and radical action is required by all.
Thank you to the bold members of Sunrise Movement Asheville! I’m hopeful that if and when Green New Deal legislation is drafted, it will recognize carbon fee and dividend as one of the most effective ways to deal with climate change.
— Travis Smith
Candidate for N.C. Senate District 49