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Sep 11, 2012 Screeve commented on It’s Time to Freak Out About Climate Change.
@81: Joe, I agree with a great deal of your analysis, though perhaps not all. We might quibble, for example, about reasons for hope. But what I'm really interested in is, what concrete steps do you propose to deal with the situation, accepting all your premises (lack of political will or even awareness, the dire situation of the climate, etc.)?
Sep 10, 2012 Screeve commented on It’s Time to Freak Out About Climate Change.
Thanks for running this. I was glad you included a list of things that folks can do. Despite the cynicism, denial, and despair that such an article all too easily provokes (see above), I’m not willing to give up.

Another thing that folks can do is to lobby their representatives for a carbon tax. Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) is working on this at a national level (they have a Seattle chapter). Their proposal would levy an annually rising fee on all carbon-based fuels at the source, pushing the market toward clean alternatives. The revenue would be returned to consumers to offset the rising price of fossil fuels, allowing them to choose whether to spend the money on carbon or non-carbon sources. Over time this will push the energy sector away from greenhouse-gas-producing fuels. Jim McDermott’s Managed Carbon Price Act and Pete Stark’s Save Our Climate Act both incorporate elements of this proposal, though they use some revenue for debt reduction.

Political pressure is indispensable for making the large-scale changes needed. True, climate change is already happening, but we can still act to prevent more, and worse. True, there is lots of ignorance, denial, and self-serving obstructionism, but there is also a large and growing body of people who realize action is needed, not just on the left. One virtue of the CCL proposal is that it appeals to conservatives with its revenue-neutral approach (i.e. no new money for big bad government) and progressives (offseting the regressive effects of a consumption tax).

And, yes, our industrial lifestyle is not sustainable in thelong run, as Upriver Joe keeps pointing out. But that does not mean that action within the political system is pointless, as a way to guide the change rather than just waiting for the collapse. It’s impossible to be hopeful about politicians or the system, but if the people themselves don’t have the power to effect change, why do they keep spending so much time and money to try to bamboozle us?

Davis Oldham

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