Most of you reading this probably agree that the climate is warming. Likely you are very concerned about the consequences of rising sea levels, more frequent and more powerful storms, the disruption of fish populations, and insect pests and ticks like you never knew as children. But what to do about it? “Nothing” is not a good answer.

Many in Washington really do want and need to hear from you. Google your legislator’s name to find contact telephone numbers and addresses. When you call you might mention the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763). This bill puts a fee on carbon fuel products to give us and manufacturers an incentive to use less fossil fuels, proven to be the source of most of the warming.

The beauty of this legislation is that the fees collected are returned monthly to every citizen, with about 80 percent receiving a return greater than the fees paid. This may sound like an ineffective strategy, but both rich and poor will have good reason to consider alternatives to carbon-based products; more money stays in your pocket. Many countries are already pricing carbon; neighboring Canada has recently embraced the fee and dividend approach.

For those skeptical that fossil fuels are causing the warming, note that those resources are not unlimited; we have no choice but to find alternatives. And there are other benefits of a move away from fossil fuels, namely less pollution of air and water. The World Heath Organization estimates 4.2 million deaths annually are caused by microparticles in the air from burning carbon fuels.

Changing our lifestyle can be unsettling at first, but better now by choice than from the next climate disaster. Our children and grandchildren deserve no less.


Chris Beeuwkes


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