Must account for carbon’s true cost

The state of our planet’s climate came home to Snohomish and Island counties last Tuesday night. The President addressed our climate, and the need to act:

“But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

We seem to have momentary breathing room for transitioning away from fossil fuels. But I would like to caution that any fossil fuel supply and price breaks that we think we have are being paid for by our environment. Worldwide, we are spewing vaporized fossil fuels, more than ever.

So, look at this statement by the President critically:

“We produce more natural gas than ever before — and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.”

New legislation proposed by Sens. Boxer and Sanders includes a tax on carbon. This big step is the kind of action needed for big fossil fuels problems. We need a higher price signal on carbon. The signal we get now is incorrect. It does not include the cost of disposal: pollution. With correct carbon pricing, consumers — not government — decide, with each purchase, how to become more efficient and less dependent on fossil fuels. Freedom!

Lee James

Coupeville

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