Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Mark Reynolds, group executive director of the Citizens Climate Lobby, hopes this time Congress will act to implement a carbon tax, instead of letting another politically useful catastrophe slide by without meaningful climate action.
It’s time to act on climate change with a tax on carbon
By MARK REYNOLDS |
PUBLISHED: September 1, 2018 at 2:00 pm | UPDATED: September 1, 2018 at 2:01 pm
Those of us who understand the existential threat posed by climate change have been waiting for the “Pearl Harbor moment” that galvanizes people and politicians alike into taking action to minimize that threat. 2018 is turning out to be a “Pearl Harbor year,” where a majority of Americans support taking action, and we’re ready for Congress to press forward.
We thought the wake-up call on climate change occurred in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina slammed and devastated New Orleans, a disaster that left 1,836 people dead and displaced tens of thousands more. Four years later, when legislation to price carbon made a run in Congress, any sense of urgency to deal with climate change was lost amid partisan squabbling and pushback from special interests.
The next opportunity for action came in 2012 when Superstorm Sandy roared up the East Coast with a storm surge that put much of New York City under water. The cover of Bloomberg Businessweek proclaimed, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.” But again, nothing happened. Likewise, last year’s back-to-back-to-back storms — Harvey, Irma and Maria — left a swath of destruction from Houston to Puerto Rico totaling some $300 billion in damage. This, too, was not enough to spur action.
The terrifying vortex of fire that swept through Redding, is the latest Pearl Harbor moment for climate change in a year filled with such moments. Let us hope this year of infamy, together with the growing desire for action, will finally set the wheels in motion for Congress to enact meaningful solutions.
Mark Reynolds is executive director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
My first thought when I hear about a weather disaster is usually “I hope those people are receiving the help they need”. But perhaps not everyone shares my sense of priorities.