Climate In-Action: The World Can’t Wait
My friend lives in the Philippines. Rodne and I met 15 months ago when we participated in a Climate Reality Leadership Training in San Francisco with former VP Al Gore. We were 1000 volunteers from all places across the globe. Enthusiastic, bright-eyed, peaceful warriors, we accepted our mission to spread truth about the reality of climate change and the price that we will all pay by continued use of carbon-based fossil fuels.
On November 8th, Typhoon Haiyan struck Rodne’s country. Meteorologists said it was one of the most powerful storms to hit land anywhere in the world, ever. I was relieved to learn Rodne was safe, but many of the people he has worked with, as well as his cousin, have yet to be accounted for.
“Why are we the ones paying for the cost of carbon?” Rodne blogged. “Typhoon Haiyan speaks of climate inaction, injustice, apathy and irresponsibility. Enough with all this suffering, enough with this madness.”
And although Filipinos appreciate our aid and sympathy, what they need is our commitment to change. After the last relief aid is delivered, industrialized nations always return to business as usual, emitting more and more CO2. What the people suffering most from the effects of climate change really want is for us to lead by charting a course toward to a renewable energy future.
Mother Nature does not negotiate. Nature works within the laws of physics and chemistry. It’s time for us to recognize this and begin to build a civilization that works within those laws too.
We can and we must put a price on carbon, now. Citizens Climate Lobby, using Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement as a model, is working to create the political will for a livable world. Recently, my city council passed a resolution in support of our proposal to enact a revenue-neutral carbon tax, called a carbon fee and dividend.
A fee and dividend program would levy a fee, to be collected by the federal government, on the carbon in fossil fuels, whether coal, oil, or natural gas, at the point of production or import. The funds collected would then be returned to Americans. The fee would climb on a regular schedule until we were on target to reach emissions reductions dictated by science.
It is expected that corporate producers would pass on their increased costs to consumers, who would be motivated to use less carbon-heavy sources of energy so they could keep more of the dividend they receive.
This program enjoys wide support from economists on both side of the political spectrum. More than 30 countries already have successful carbon taxation programs.
The problem is only too daunting, on too large a scale, if we feel disconnected and powerless. It’s time to let that old way of thinking go. Philippines Chief Climate Negotiator, Yeb Sano asked his fellow negotiators, “If not us then, who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”
Join us, for your children, and your grandchildren. The Philippines can’t wait and neither can the world.
Citizens Climate Lobby www.citizensclimatelobby.org
Climate Reality Project www.climaterealityproject.org