To the Editor:
The raging wildfires out West, the devastation of Hurricane Ida. The sight of red skies and ashes, of flooded streets and abandoned homes. News stories of terrified families and lost love ones. The shocking extreme weather of late comes as no surprise to scientists who warned for decades that we are heading toward climate catastrophe.
“These extremes are something we knew were coming,” climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe recently told the Washington Post. “The suffering that is here and now is because we have not heeded the warnings sufficiently.”
Here in Bowling Green, we too have experienced climate-related hardships. Who can forget the sight of the flooded-out cornfields from the last few years? Local farmers have to work hard to repair or replace overwhelmed drainage systems, and local homeowners have to live with increased risk of mold, flooded foundations, and damage to their hard-earned homes.
Signs of hope emerged recently as the budget reconciliation process continues in Congress. The budget blueprint contains measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of cutting those emissions in half within 10 years. In early September, news broke that the Senate Finance Committee is considering carbon pricing with “a potential tax on the carbon content of fossil fuels starting at $15 per ton,” as part of the budget package.
Bloomberg reported committee members were discussing a carbon tax with “rebates for low-income taxpayers and a border-adjustment tax aimed at ensuring foreign companies don’t get an advantage.”
A robust price on carbon has bipartisan appeal and would ensure President Joe Biden meets his goal of reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. by 50% by 2030. Previously, policy modeling outlined by Majority Leader Schumer fell short of that target by 5%.
To ensure that the indispensable tool of carbon pricing is included in upcoming legislation, we ask Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, and Congressman Robert Latta to support a price on carbon as part of the budget reconciliation negotiations.
Recent extreme weather disasters underscore that we are running out of time to address climate change. Congress needs to go big on solutions, or we will all suffer the future consequences.