By Terry Hansen, Hales Corners, WI
(April 10, 2019)
“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
I have an idea for sorting through the many competing voices on climate change.
The seriousness of the threat
Fifty-eight former U.S. national security leaders, including 35 admirals and generals, sent a letter on climate change to President Donald Trump. The letter states: “Climate change is real, it is happening now, it is driven by humans, and it is accelerating.” These senior military and national security leaders also assert that “climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States,” and that addressing it should be seen “as a threat reduction issue, not a political one.”
Over 3500 economists, including 27 Nobel Prize-winners and top economic advisers to presidents of both parties, have endorsed a plan to fight climate change. Their “Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends” advocates putting a consistently rising price on carbon dioxide emissions and returning the money to the American people.
This statement concludes that the price signal will encourage technological innovation and steer our economy toward a low-carbon future. Returning the revenue to households will shield consumers from rising energy prices, and “the majority of families, including the most vulnerable, will benefit financially.” A border carbon adjustment would protect U.S. competitiveness and encourage other nations to adopt their own carbon pricing systems.
A bipartisan bill embracing these principles has been introduced in the House of Representatives – the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
A path forward
Let’s go with the admirals and generals and the Nobel Prize-winning economists.
Letter from former national security leaders
Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends
Council of Economic Advisers (CEA chairs for recent presidents)
Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act