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Progress needed on climate change

April 2, 2014

Thank you for your important and powerful editorial piece “Mired in Fossil Fuel” dated March 26. Fossil fuels are damaging to us all and at all phases: during extraction, transportation, processing and finally, in burning. The dangers of fracking waste, toxic oil spills from trains and pipelines in our neighborhoods and spills in our oceans destroying our food are only just the beginning. We also face the overwhelming buildup of greenhouse gases that are causing extreme weather events, ocean acidification and sea level rise.

As you so rightly make the case, Pennsylvania needs a better Climate Action Plan (CAP). In fact, all states need a better CAP and all individuals need a better CAP. All of us need to reduce and ultimately eliminate our reliance on these toxic fuels. We need federal policy that will encourage all of us, including businesses and foreign nations to reduce emissions.

Such a policy change can happen. It requires a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend. This legislation places a fee on fossil fuels when they enter our economy, and the money collected is returned to all U.S. citizens equally. Businesses and individuals are encouraged to seek ways to do business that use alternatives. Foreign nations are pushed to pass similar legislation. Countries that do not charge an equivalent fee must pay that fee upon importation; countries that do charge the fee can import freely. Increases in cost of living for families are covered by the dividend paid to each of us equally.

I urge everyone to investigate this type of legislation that has the endorsement of scientists and economists and has found support among both Republicans and Democrats.

We can address our dependence on fossil fuels. We must. A revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend is the way to do it.

Claire Cortright
Upper Delaware Valley Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Glen Spey, NY