Some of us know people who were affected by Superstorm Sandy. Fueled by ocean waters that were 5 degrees warmer than normal, it was the deadliest, most destructive hurricane of 2012, killing 285 people, leaving tens of thousands homeless and causing $60 billion in destruction.
Hurricanes aren't new, but warmer air temperatures change their intensity and behavior. Scientists are 95 percent certain that Earth is warming because we burn fossil fuels, whose price doesn't reflect costs like damage from superstorms caused by climate destabilization.
Who pays? We do!
To keep global warming within manageable limits, we mustn't exceed a "budget" of 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. We've already "spent" half that budget; at this rate, we'll reach the trillion-ton limit by 2040.
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A revenue-neutral carbon tax and dividend is the fastest, cheapest way to reduce CO2 levels while converting to clean-energy sources (www.CitizensClimateLobby.org). Taxing CO2 at the source and using the proceeds to give equal payments to all households will provide the additional income to pay for price increases associated with the carbon tax.
Ask your representatives to support a nationwide carbon tax and dividend to keep us "under budget."
ALEX AMONETTE, Richland
PATRICIA FINCHER, Kennewick