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Opinion: Spending a little to combat climate change now would save us more later

Much has been written about the reasons why we should not switch from fossil fuels to clean energy, and some even still say that climate change is a hoax, so there is no reason to switch.   

I am certainly one of those who believes we should never spend money on something that is not needed or on something that we cannot afford.  However, there are times when we cannot afford not to act, and action on climate change is one of those.  

There have been many studies done, all showing that we would save $2-$4 for every $ 1 spent to control climate change.  Dr. Drew Shindell, a professor of Earth science at Duke University and lead author of the two most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, recently appeared before Congress and reported that the latest research showed that adhering to keeping to the 2 degree C path would save about 100,000 American lives each year and would save us $700 billion annually.   

Previous research by the MIT and Harvard Medical School showed similar results. This is not counting all the countless billions of dollars damage and loss of life that occur from other parts of climate change such as sea level rise, increasing storms, forest fires, crop loss, heat stress, etc.  

Enough of the facts and numbers.  As a Christian, I believe strongly that we must do everything in our power to prevent the loss of human lives and to lessen human suffering, and as a fiscal conservative, I believe we need to protect our country from terrible financial losses.  So, is there an answer?  Yes, I believe there is. 

Simply putting a price on the burning of fossil fuels to account for their external damage and returning all the money to all U.S. citizens, a carbon fee and dividend plan, is the most sensible solution. HR 763, already in the House with bipartisan support and over 80 co-sponsors, would do just that.   

It would decrease greenhouse gases by 90% by 2050, add millions of new American jobs, and would put more real spendable income into almost 2/3 of Americans’ pocketbooks even accounting for higher prices. It is a great free market solution-just put a fair price on fossil fuels to account for their damage and let the free market take over.  

As an American taxpayer, I like the idea that it does not cost me one penny.  It just seems to make common sense to support such an idea, a win-win-win situation, a win for the Earth, our health and our pocketbooks. 

Vernon Dixon 


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