Climate change and global warming have become politically charged terms that can end discussions about finding solutions before they begin.
The Citizens’ Climate Lobby and Audubon Washington grasp that reality. And this is why the two organizations are working together on an informational tour of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. The tour made a stop in Walla Walla on Nov. 13 for a public session at Foundry Winery. Before that session the group met with the U-B Editorial Board.
The tour’s goal is to promote a federal proposal to reduce carbon-based pollution while not harming the economy.
The three speakers — Richland climate scientist Steve Ghan, Citizen Climate Lobby volunteer John Sandvig and Jennifer Syrowitz of Audubon Washington — focus on the impact of climate change on Americans and how to move beyond partisanship to managing risk of climate change and addressing the challenges of providing affordable energy while growing the economy with good jobs.
Ghan, an MIT-educated scientist, said the two groups support federal legislation to create a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend.
The proposal would put a fee on fossil fuels at the mine, the well or when it’s imported that would then be returned in the form of a check to every American. Ghan said an analysis of the economic impact shows the revenue from the fee that is returned to the economy would stimulate many types of new jobs and grow the economy by 2 million jobs.
Ultimately, these groups believe this would drive a transition to an economy powered by nonpolluting, low-carbon energy.
It’s an intriguing concept. And so, too, is the effort to promote this plan through attempting to have nonpartisan discussions throughout the region.
Ghan, Sandvig and Syrowitz are pragmatic about the current political climate. They fully understand that getting folks to fully embrace their plan is a heavy lift — particularly on the politically red, as Republican, side of state east of the Cascades.
This is exactly why the speakers are making an effort to put economic benefits of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby carbon fee and dividend proposal front and center. They see it as a way to start a reasoned discussion of the issue.
The issues surrounding climate change are critical and merit serious, rational discussion. This effort is a laudable way to get the conversation going across the political spectrum.