I’d like to thank Bob Egbert (Aug. 19 letter "No solutions, only adapation") for bringing up the challenge we face when it comes to climate change. I completely agree with him where he says “Civilization as we know it is dependent on fossil fuel, but civilization will be destroyed if we don’t stop burning the stuff. We can and should switch to renewables, but that won’t be easy and life won’t be the same.”
We are currently heavily dependent on fossil fuel, but not for reasons you’d expect. Our dependency has remained intact because our society isn’t appropriately pricing pollution and all of the externalities created from burning fossil fuels, which obscures the need to embrace alternatives.
There are policy solutions, such as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763) that would make the switch to low carbon energy sources much easier and minimally disruptive by applying a steadily rising carbon price and returning all the money back to households. Because the money is returned, there wouldn’t be a burden placed on the average American, it just comes down to making different choices over time on how to spend our money.
While yes, we will all need to adapt, in the long run these adaptations will make our lives better. A world where thousands of lives are saved from deaths and illness related to air pollution and water pollution? Electric cars are typically safer, quieter, and require less maintenance. Heating homes with electric or geothermal presents less risk of carbon dioxide poisoning. Maybe we’d all commute less and be able to spend more time with our loved ones. Sounds good to me.
He also goes on to say that “there are no solutions, only adaptation,” but plenty of solutions do exist. From renewables, to batteries, to conservative agriculture, to bioplastics, to electric trains, to building retrofitting, we have solutions that span numerous industries and have the capacity to create millions of jobs. We just need a push, like the one we would get from a policy like H.R. 763, to better embrace these solutions. So yes, let’s get to it.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!