Citizens alliance has solutions for climate change
President George W. Bush, in his 2007 State of the Union speech, said, "Dependence on foreign oil leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes and terrorists, and clean domestic alternatives help us confront the serious challenge of global climate change." President Bush correctly noted that climate change, national security and dependence on fossil fuels are a related set of global challenges.
The U.S. Department of Defense recently released its 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review. Every four years, our military strategists attempt to predict future threats to our country, the causes of these threats and a broad plan on how to deal with them.
This year's report identifies the "threat multiplier" nature of climate change. These "threat multipliers ... will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability and social tensions -- conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.
"Furthermore, Adm. Sam Locklear, theater commander of the Pacific, said to Congress just this summer, "Climate change is the single greatest threat to security in the Pacific, except for North Korea."
Henry M. Paulson was Bush's secretary of the treasury when the economic crash of 2008 waylaid us all. In his own words: "For too many years, we failed to rein in the excesses building up in the nation's financial markets. When the credit bubble burst in 2008, the damage was devastating. Millions suffered. Many still do."We're making the same mistake today with climate change. We're staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to our environment and economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked."
Paulson's answer to the problem of climate change is a fundamentally conservative one that empowers the marketplace to find the most efficient response. That is done, he says, by, "putting a price on the emissions of carbon dioxide."
Paulson is not alone in recognizing the danger in doing nothing. In recent years, an organization, started by just a handful of people, has surged across America, with chapters in every large city, including Fresno.
The stunning growth rate of Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL) is based on one simple fact: CCL has a simple yet effective plan to combat climate change: a national carbon-fee-and-dividend law.This is not cap and trade. CCL's proposal is to charge a fee for carbon at its source (mine, well, or border), and then rebate 100% of the revenues monthly to every U.S. household, much like Alaska's Permanent Fund from oil revenues. Pricing carbon would eliminate the market distortion that results when no one pays the cost of dumping carbon into our atmosphere.
Two thirds of the population would come out ahead monetarily.In this way, every U.S. consumer could use the extra money to cover increased costs of transportation and products as they wish. They could use their extra income to cover the higher cost of carbon-based fuels, or switch to cheaper renewable-energy sources and actually help themselves to a profit as they help the earth to a maintain a more stable atmosphere.
No political party would choose winners and losers -- the U.S. consumer would do that.For international trade, there would be import fees on products from countries without a carbon fee, along with rebates to the U.S. industries exporting to those countries.Recent in-depth studies have shown pricing carbon in this way will give back to most Americans more money than they put into the program, put the brakes on pollution and actually create a net gain of 2.1 to 2.8 million jobs. U.S. CO2 emissions would decline (from the baseline year of 1990) 52% by the year 2035.Bush, Paulson and the Department of Defense are right -- climate change is a real threat to our nation's security and economy. CCL's plan deserves close consideration from all of us, regardless of political party.
Pete Moe has been a resident of the Fresno area for 22 years with his wife and three children. He retired after a 26-year career as an officer and combat fighter pilot in the Air Force and Fresno Air Guard. He is an international captain for Federal Express.