Carbon fee legislation points way to future
Thank you for publishing David Sixbey's climate crisis letter, "Time's running short." I applaud Mr. Sixbey's call for active climate engagement at the local and state level. Agreed that thus far federal action has not measured up to the climate crisis taking hold in our country. However, effective bipartisan climate legislation with broad public appeal can deliver the emission reductions and economic/energy transition we need.
Our nation's own peer-reviewed, congressionally mandated Fourth National Climate Assessment (2018) outlines how climate change is already introducing new risks and exacerbating existing weaknesses in infrastructure, health, safety and livelihoods. The assessment is easily found online.
Plenty of local testimony is also readily available. In my Natural State travels I've heard orchardists, grape growers, soy farmers, rice growers, ornithologists, physicians, pre-school teachers, emergency management students, psychologists, preachers and city council members describe climate's disruptive impacts and the need for action.
My Citizens' Climate Lobby colleague, Nick Huey, a young Republican from Utah, testified to the need for bipartisan legislation before a Senate climate committee in mid-August. Nick encouraged citizens and legislators to find common ground in "the far middle," as opposed to fighting each other from the far left and far right.
What climate legislation exists in "the far middle?" Carbon fee and dividend solutions like the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763) for one. This legislation is revenue neutral and effectively reduces emissions -- exceeding the Clean Power Plan and in line with our Paris commitments. The result is cleaner air and water without growing government or adding regulations. The dividend protects households during the transition to a cleaner energy economy. A border adjustment safeguards jobs. While this legislation doesn't solve every climate or environmental issue, it is a bold, economically smart first step.
May 2019 Luntz Polling results show that a majority of Americans across party lines support carbon fee and dividend-type legislation, including 75 percent of Republicans under 40. A growing number of business associations and corporations, including Mars Inc. and Unilever, both of which have a presence in Arkansas, have called on Congress to enact carbon pricing.
Now is the time for Northwest Arkansans to urge Sens. Boozman and Cotton and Rep. Womack to prioritize effective bipartisan climate legislation such as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Readers can learn more about this legislation at www.energyinnovationact.org.
Arkansas State Coordinator
Citizens' Climate LobbyCommentary on 09/09/2019
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