Plan will address climate instability

The News deserves credit for its attention to climate instability. I do respectfully take issue with some of Douglas Turner’s column of July 1.

True, we cannot solve the problem of fossil fuel emissions alone, certainly not without action by China. But China is already acting, and is ahead of us in the development of clean energy. Moreover, China is poised to implement a carbon tax in 2015. China knows that it cannot solve the problem unilaterally, either. It is not “foolishness” to think that a bilateral agreement with China can be achieved. President Obama has done what he can do without Congress. Regulation is not the ideal approach. But there is another way.

Even as the president delivered his climate speech, 375 volunteers from across the United States and Canada were on Capitol Hill, advocating a legislative solution proposed by Citizens Climate Lobby. The non-profit, non-partisan CCL proposes a steadily rising tax or fee on all fossil fuels at the point where they enter the economy. All revenues would go to American households to help with the rising cost of fossil fuels during the transition to clean energy. A border adjustment would protect U.S. industries, farmers and consumers, and the president would be required to seek a bilateral agreement with China.

Conservative economists have endorsed this approach. The marketplace, not government, would pick winners and losers in the transition to clean energy, which is already creating more jobs than are fossil fuels. Fee and dividend could therefore have bipartisan support. Turner suggests we let market forces work. Agreed. But let’s begin by putting a true price on carbon, one that reflects its costs to society and the planet. Whether Obama’s “posturing,” as Turner puts it, will hurt New York is debatable. Failing to act will hurt everyone, everywhere.

Ron Scott

Coordinator, Buffalo area chapter

of Citizens Climate Lobby