|Devastation: Super Storm Sandy|
Climate change is a real and growing threat. Human-caused global warming has already caused billions of dollars of damage and untold suffering across the globe, including here in the United States. The longer we wait to act, the more expensive it will be to mitigate the impacts of what could become a climate catastrophe.
At over 400 ppm we have now reached atmospheric concentrations of CO2 never before seen in recorded human history. We need to be no higher than 350 pmm of CO2, and yet we continue to add well over 30 billion tons annually. We are already seeing the effects; melting ice sheets, sea level rise, shrinking ice pack, drought, more intense wildfires, ocean acidification, and unusual and troubling weather events around the world.
But we can tackle this problem. It will require a well thought-out, comprehensive, aggressively executed plan of action. One that starts with a revenue-neutral carbon fee -- a free market approach that levels the playing field for clean energy technologies; technologies that can create hundreds of thousands of jobs and vault the American economy into the 22nd Century.
This is not wishful thinking. A study just released by Regional Economic Models, Inc. and Synergy Energy Economics, Inc., showed that a modest but steadily increasing carbon fee and dividend not only reduces emissions by 33% by 2025, but adds up to 3 million jobs, and boosts the U.S. economy by up to $90 billion in annual GDP. There are other benefits, too numerous to detail here. The study is available from Steve Valk at the Citizens Climate Lobby.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank you for your service to our state and the nation. As you consider your priorities for the remainder of this legislative session, I hope you will add to what I’m sure is a long list, tackling the advancing threat of climate change, and the path forward that a revenue-neutral carbon tax -- a carbon fee and dividend -- provides.