Letter: National Legislation Is Needed for Large-Scale Progress Against Climate Change
January 07, 2020 4:30 AM
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In 2015, nearly 200 countries promised to stop global warming as part of the Paris Climate Agreement. However, when the UN-sponsored COP25 climate change conference wrapped up on Dec. 15, 2019, the results were less than hoped for. UN secretary general António Guterres tweeted that he was “disappointed with the results of #COP25…The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis.” 

Readers have seen that state and local officials in Pennsylvania are striving to build protections against climate change. Efforts range from solar projects at the University Area Joint Authority and the Centre County Correctional Facility, to constructing a Spring Creek flood wall in Bellefonte. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is moving to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  Popular support is reflected in the Students’ Climate Strikes. 

To achieve larger scale progress against climate change, and show U.S. leadership, national legislation is needed. One good place to start is with the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763), currently under review in the U.S. House of Representatives, and awaiting introduction into the Senate. This bill would place a fee on fossil fuels, with the revenues going back to individual US taxpayers, a feature that would offset the costs to consumers (https://citizensclimatelobby.org/energy-innovation-and-carbon-dividend-act/). 

U.S. energy and manufacturing companies have indicated support for such a national carbon fee, and a border adjustment in the bill protects American businesses from foreign competitors that don’t pay similar fees.

Ed Cullen
State College

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