Hasn’t the view of the snow-capped Sierras been a treat for the past few weeks? The cooler weather has made it easy to have a false sense of security about our Valley’s air quality and climate change risks. But despite the recent snow and rain in our area, climate change is real and it is here.
Experts say we have a mere 10 years to significantly decrease the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere in order to avoid some of the most dire effects of climate change. Throughout our nation, these include monster storms and fires, air pollution/lung disease, drought, sea level rise, melting permafrost, damage to agriculture, increased disease from mosquito and tick proliferation, loss of animal habitats and more.
Some sectors more vulnerable: Our infrastructure and economy are not prepared for unpredictable temperatures and water management issues. People of lower socioeconomic means are more vulnerable as they have less optimal shelter, working conditions, and ways to heat, cool or filter the air in their homes.
The LWVC supports many actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Some of these include:
- Promoting energy conservation and efficiency in transportation, buildings and infrastructure, including energy efficiency standards and land use policies that reduce miles traveled.
- Promoting carbon pricing by market mechanisms such as cap and trade and carbon taxes
- Promoting a clean, low carbon energy economy
- Promoting solutions that ease consequences of climate related hardships for low and moderate income households
- Promoting public access and involvement in the decisionmaking process
Carbon fee endorsed Last year, LWV Fresno endorsed a carbon fee and dividend approach to climate change. The good news is that there is currently a bill in the House of Representatives that aligns perfectly with League positions. The bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act outlines a specific plan that many economists, scientists and policy makers believe will stimulate the transition to cleaner energy sources and business practices. It calls for a starting fee of $15/ton of CO2 on oil, gas and coal, based on the greenhouse gas emissions they produce. The money from the fee would be allocated equally and directly to all American households as a monthly rebate or “dividend.” This bill is still expected to decrease greenhouse gases by 40% in 12 years and 90% by 2050, while allowing businesses and individuals the ability to innovate and adapt. To learn more about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, visit energyinnovationact.org. Andrea Farber De Zubiriais, afarberdezub [at] gmail.com