Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pass the tax

Posted on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 4:00 AM

I recently had the opportunity to get involved with the Citizens Climate Lobby and have been exposed to many articles and videos about global warming and climate change. An article in The Guardian from May 16 by Dana Nuccitelli talked about a recent study showing that 97 percent of climate experts agree humans cause global warming. When people know scientists agree on human-caused global warming, they are more likely to support government action to curb these greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s extremely important to get educated on the issues around climate change, as we need to act now. Less than 50 percent of Americans know that scientists now agree on human-caused global warming.

Here in Montana, global warming is causing ranchers to sell off part of their herds because the grass is not there for them to eat and getting hay is very expensive. Trying to raft down the Gallatin or Madison is not as enjoyable as it use to be. Last time I went rafting, our raft kept hitting the bottom and I would have to get out and navigate the kids until we got to an area with a little more water. Water temperature is increasing, stressing the trout in our rivers, shortening fly-fishing season. Global warming is happening, and it’s affecting this beautiful state we live in and the livelihood of river guides, outfitters and even the ski resorts.

Billions of dollars are and will be spent to fight our fires. As reported by KBZK news on May 23, since 1999 over $1.1 billion has been spent battling wildfires just in Montana. We can expect a warmer and dryer June and July, which means our July-August fire season will be worse.

It is time to work at reducing the carbon emissions. We need a revenue-neutral carbon tax giving money back to each household. By doing this, it protects the low and middle class, holds the fossil fuel suppliers accountable for the damage they are doing and allows the free market to move towards clean energy.

Instead of spending billions putting out fires, we should be investing in jobs for solar, wind energy and other types of clean energy like earthship houses. Imagine putting people to work retrofitting houses and businesses for solar energy? Putting people to work and reducing our carbon footprint. Even China is getting on board to put a ceiling on greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.

We the people are the biggest contributors to global warming and climate changes. We cannot continue to consume at our current rate, the planet cannot sustain this type of growth and consumption. May 9 marked 400 ppm of carbon in the atmosphere for the first time in 3 million years.

A person may feel frozen because the task ahead is so overwhelming and they don’t know where to start. Start by calling Sen. Baucus, Sen. Tester and Rep. Daines and ask them to support a revenue-neutral carbon tax, a solution backed by conservatives like former Secretary of State George Shultz. In Bozeman, contact the local Citizens Climate Lobby through their Facebook page for more information or to get involved. There is a new group in Missoula and one starting in Billings.

If 97 percent of the climate experts agree that humans are responsible for climate change, then I am 100 percent certain that Congress needs to pass a revenue-neutral carbon tax, or they can write a blank check to FEMA and divert all funds there.

Jeannie Brown

Citizens Climate Lobby


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