Letter: Let’s take action on climate change

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Graphic by Lori Deaton

In the State of the Union address, though mentioning some of the costly climate-related disasters that struck last year, the president failed to acknowledge the growing conditions that lead to stronger storms and wildfires.

Granted: It’s hard to “wrap your head around the scale of action needed to avoid catastrophic changes in the climate” (David Roberts writing in Vox on Jan. 27). Nevertheless, it’s a critical failure on the part of the leaders of our country to ignore even the possibility of climate catastrophe and the subsequent socioeconomic and political upheavals that we will face.

We — individuals, cities, states, other countries — are doing lots of things despite our own government’s inaction: from research and innovation in many fields and endeavors, to changing our daily activities in order to reduce our carbon footprints, which is often the best we feel we can do. And Western North Carolina is home to many who love and work to protect and support our environment.

It’s all important.

But right now, it isn’t enough, not nearly enough. I’m afraid that it could be too late. My grandchildren and certainly their children are going to find themselves in a very different world than we experience now, with reduced possibilities and increasing challenges to daily life. They live in Florida, where already they encounter increasing heat, rising seas and sinking land, saltwater incursion into freshwater aquifers, new disease vectors, more powerful storms and challenges to agriculture.

I live in the mountains and wonder when droughts and infestations caused by increasing heat and reduced winters will bring down our beloved forests, reduce our clear rivers and streams, challenge our wonderful local farms. Will we be able to plant enough trees to make up for the losses here? Can we manage our local agriculture within changing environment and more days above 95 degree temps?

And don’t forget that our local socioeconomic systems are wholly interconnected with other areas of the country and the world also confronting a changing climate and degraded ecosystems. Human-caused climate change is not only remaking our environment; it has also begun to exacerbate other issues of concern, such as political and socioeconomic inequality, public health, national and international tensions.

So, on balance, we in the U.S. are not prioritizing the climate, not doing the big things that need to happen now to stop CO2 emissions and bring down current levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

As Asheville’s Drew Jones (co-founder of Climate Interactive, avl.mx/4mn) has stated, two things critical for promoting large-scale and rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are citizen engagement and putting a price on carbon. Carbon fee and dividend legislation would put a fee on fossil fuels used and shipped into the U.S., make clean energy cheaper and more attractive than polluting energy sources, and in 20 years would reduce our CO2 emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels (avl.mx/4mo). The money raised would be returned to Americans in the form of a monthly rebate, and implementing clean energy would drive innovation and new jobs.

The House bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus now has 70 members who are committed to addressing the growing environmental and geopolitical threat of climate change. It’s urgent that our own representatives, Mark Meadows and Patrick McHenry, join with others to provide leadership and action that has nothing to do with partisanship and everything to do with addressing serious threats to our county.

Let’s take action ourselves. Let our elected representatives know that this is a priority for all of us, they should join the House CSC, and pass carbon fee and dividend legislation.

— Dale Stratford
Asheville

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11 thoughts on “Letter: Let’s take action on climate change

  1. Lulz

    LOL yes, let’s give the coffers even more money because they don’t have enough already. Maybe you can even put Wanda Green in charge to manage it too.

    New York values and New York lunacy in the south. And it’s going to end up the same as New York. People fleeing in droves to get away from this crap.

    • hauntedheadnc

      Census records show that the population of New York State has increased in every census since 1980. The 1980 census, in fact, was the only census in which the population of the state dropped. In every other census conducted since 1790, the population of New York State has grown. The current population of New York State was estimated to be 19,849,399 in 2017, up from 19,378,102 in the 2010 census.

      New York City, meanwhile, now boasts its largest population figures ever, with a population of 8,537,673 estimated in 2016. Census records show that New York City lost population in the 1960 and 1980 censuses, but recorded population growth in every other census and count conducted since 1698.

      Which is to say that from any objective measure, people are not fleeing in droves.

      • NFB

        “Which is to say that from any objective measure, people are not fleeing in droves.”

        Pfft. Details. He’s got his mind made up. Please don’t confuse him with the facts!

        • Lulz

          LOL, it’s easy to manipulate the truth. But more US citizens are leaving from than moving to. that state It’s why you see these commercials about the tax breaks they’re willing to dangle in order to con businesses into moving there. But no, the south is rising up economically. BMW, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, etc are all located withing 6 hours at the most of Asheville lulz.

        • hauntedheadnc

          The population of the state as well as that of New York City is growing. Undeniable fact. Unless and until the population begins to drop it doesn’t matter how many people move out because not only are they being replaced, but the population is growing. That is to say that the state and city are such bastions of economic productivity (we’ve discussed that before, btw) that people can move there from outside the country — with international immigration being one of the most difficult ordeals a person can undergo — and still find work and become productive members of society.

          So, my point still stands. You also have presented no proof whatsoever newcomers to New York are illegal immigrants or that the state or city are on a path to bankruptcy. Stop making noise and start backing up what you say with a fact or two, and people would take you a lot more seriously.

          • Able Allen

            Okay, this conversation about New York just barely counts as on-topic and it feels like it’s going nowhere. I think that’s about enough.

  2. Jan Freed

    Yes! Why even bother with the paid deniers and front groups who thrive creating the delay of a false climate debate?
    A revenue neutral carbon fee but with a 100% dividend, makes enormous sense (cents, too)! !

    Conservative and liberal economists and scientists say it is the best way to create healthy and safe communities. It is not a tax. This way citizens would RECEIVE the carbon fees as a monthly check, for example. That would protect us from price spikes in dirty energy.
    Polluters PAY the fees, so it holds fossil fuel corporations responsible for the damages. or “externalities”, they cause, hundreds of billions of dollars per year (Harvard School of Medicine).

    It would more rapidly limit further pollution than by regulations alone, as happened in BC Canada with a similar, popular policy. BC lowered emissions and also lowered taxes with their fees.
    A study by respected non-partisan Regional Economic Modeling, Inc. found the dividends would help to create 2.9 million additional jobs in 20 years, while reducing carbon emissions 50% in that time, as fees stimulate low carbon technologies . http://citizensclimatelobby.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/REMI-National-SUMMARY.pdf

    To those who reject the science: perhaps nothing will change your mind. But what have you got against cleaner air, less asthma in our kids, fewer heart attacks, and more money (the dividend) in your pockets?
    To those accepting the science: Any effort to
 limit the problem of climate trauma is worth it. For example: the cost of sea level rise ALONE is so great that no effort to prevent it is unwarranted.

    Elon Musk was asked “what can we do? ” Musk: “I would say whenever you have the opportunity, talk to the politicians.,,,,. We have to fix the unpriced externality [social cost]. I would talk to your friends about it and fight the propaganda from the carbon industry.”

    • R James

      I suggest we take positive action towards cleaner air, less asthma, fewer heart attacks, and more money in our pockets, and stop wasting time money and effort on carbon dioxide (a harmless trace gas), windfarms, and climate change.

  3. Jan Freed

    Why even bother with the paid deniers and front groups who thrive creating the delay of a false climate debate?

  4. Enlightened Enigma

    Insanity over unproven non science ? The climate will always change…always has. Get used to it.

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