A wakeup call

It’s real, it’s us, it’s here, it’s bad, it’s getting worse; and the window of opportunity to prevent dangerous impacts is closing fast.

That is how Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, director of Texas Tech’s Climate Science Center, sums up the message of the Fourth National Climate Assessment released on Black Friday. She also reminds us that our response matters. We can each make choices to reduce our own carbon footprint but that won’t make the change we need fast enough.

Fortunately, there are legislators who are ready to take on this challenge. On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of three Democrats and two Republicans introduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 7173) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would levy an annually increasing fee on the carbon in fossil fuels, safeguard family budgets with a monthly household dividend, and protect the international business of U.S. companies with a border carbon adjustment.

Later that same day, the Eau Claire City Council acknowledged the pressing need for large-scale climate action by passing a resolution urging Congress to enact revenue-neutral carbon pricing — legislation like the bill just introduced. This action adds Eau Claire’s voice to a growing chorus of municipalities urging national action to prevent the most disruptive impacts of a warming world.

Of course, that’s not the end of the story. Legislative success requires persistent effort and that’s where you can help. A good place to start would be to thank the representatives who introduced H.R. 7173 for their leadership: Ted Deutch, D-Fla.; Francis Rooney, R-Fla.; Charlie Crist, D-Fla.; Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.; and John Delaney, D-Md. Then ask Rep. Ron Kind, or whoever represents you, to support the bill. Once it passes the House, we can talk about what needs to happen in the Senate.

Patricia Scott

Eau Claire