Speak up for Mother Earth or she will speak for you

Opinion: Columns

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Mark Reed

One View

The most noticeable thing about climate change is the great silence surrounding it. The most important and pressing issue of our time sometimes appears to be a taboo subject. Yet currently, agreement on this issue is as high as it has ever been. 

Yale University's Climate Opinion Map, which surveys where we stand nationally on climate issues, indicates that 70% of Americans believe climate change is happening. This number has fluctuated since the late 1980s, when the ideology of market fundamentalism emerged at the same time as climate change awareness. 

Climate change took a back seat to individuals and industry pursuing their own self-interest. This remains the problem within the problem of climate change; it requires more than anything else, a collective solution. 

Strategies in resolving climate change require citizens speaking up and getting involved. I recently joined an organization called Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), which is a group of volunteer citizens who lobby the government to move forward on proposals and collective solutions to combat climate change. 

In November, we lobbied our newly elected representatives to propose a carbon fee and dividend. Both climate scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that the fastest way to phase out fossil fuels and transition into renewables is by putting a price on carbon. Since no one in the supply chain pays for the pollution from oil and natural gas extraction, this solution goes right to the source of production with a carbon fee. 

Essentially, the carbon fee puts a price on pollution and charges the originator, and then redistributes it to all adult U.S. citizens as a dividend to do as they wish. The goal is to increase the carbon fee, or price of pollution, over time, making fossil fuel production expensive, and correspondingly phasing in renewables as the better option. 

CCL also seeks to make climate change a bipartisan or bridge issue. It will be difficult to move forward without representatives from the other side of the aisle. In the last Congress, CCL helped launch a bipartisan group in the House called Climate Solutions Caucus, which attracted 45 members from each political party. The Climate Solutions Caucus sought to depoliticize the issue and allow both sides to discuss climate change, which is a crucial step toward any significant climate legislation. 

Emissions from fossil fuels have been increasing annually since 1950. The last four years have been the hottest ever recorded. To have two hottest years in a row would be a statistical anomaly. Knowing this, we have been responding as if we are in the Stone Age waiting to run out of stone. A carbon fee and dividend, while phasing in more efficient and cleaner energy resources, is our best bet. 

Yes, voter support for a carbon fee is growing along with citizen awareness but it needs to happen faster. A bipartisan bill called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act was introduced in 2018 and will be re-introduced soon. Watch for it and call your representatives to support it. It's time to speak up!

Mark L. Reed is a member of the Citizens Climate Lobby.

Reader Comments

11 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: January 17th, 2019 5:35 PM

Here is an article that doesn't think much of NASA: https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2011/07/19/nasas-inconvenient-ruse-the-goddard-institute-for-space-studies/

Lloyd Brodnax King  

Posted: January 17th, 2019 5:06 PM

@ Ray, @Evan - For solid, scientific and mostly non-political evidence of climate change, see NASA's excellent website: https://climate.nasa.gov/

Christopher J Janis  

Posted: January 17th, 2019 4:54 PM

For those who doubt the US military believes and has believed for a while. I read a short time ago that recently declassified reports from the Nixon administration warned of the dangers of fossil fuels. I wonder if that had anything to do with Nixon creating the EPA. Anyone who thinks temps have been flat is kidding themselves, the last three years have set heat records. And for those who cry about taxes, look at the cost of the wild fires out west and know the expenses of climate change has just started to kick in. It is the biggest threat to mankind to date.

Evan O'Brien  

Posted: January 17th, 2019 9:07 AM

@ Ray - Science doesn't care what you believe. Are you able to provide data? Take your time.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 16th, 2019 9:59 PM

@ Evan - I have given my reasons for believing what I do. You choose to believe otherwise and that is your right. I see very little (actually no ) data in support of your position that has not been altered to achieve an objective. In science that throws your argument into a cocked hat. Sorry!

Evan O'Brien  

Posted: January 16th, 2019 7:56 PM

@ Ray - This article mentions "17 years of flat global temperatures" and "no global warming for 17 years" twice, not including the headline. The statement is based on Steven Goddard's (who is this?) assessment of results not referenced. I see a link referenced to facts provided by the CATO Institute. Are you familiar with this organization? Do you mind sharing the data you mention verifying that global temperatures have been relatively flat for the last 15 years?

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 16th, 2019 1:59 PM

@ Evan - Forbes Magazine put it better than I can with references and historical data. https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/08/21/the-new-york-times-global-warming-hysteria-ignores-17-years-of-flat-global-temperatures/#1cb3e4082a4c My favorite tee shirt says " Science doesn't care what you believe" - drives my neighbor nuts!

Evan O'Brien  

Posted: January 16th, 2019 1:07 PM

Ray, do you mind sharing the data you mention verifying that global temperatures have been relatively flat for the last 15 years? It's worth noting that you made the distinction of "relatively" flat temperatures. Selection bias has a funny way of distorting statistical analysis.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: January 15th, 2019 10:32 PM

Nothing but propaganda to scare the masses into giving up more of their hard earned money to government bureaucrats to do what? I have a few issues with climate change: 1. They changed the name from global warming to climate change since the first didn't really fit their agenda. 2. In the same year arctic ice levels reached a 30 year low (2007), antarctica reach a 30 year high. Of course, this is NEVER mentioned, which clearly indicates use of deception and lies. 3. Lastly, there are so many factors that effect the earth's climate (position of the sun, change in orbit, gases in the atmosphere, ocean currents, etc. etc. etc. that mankind could not possibly wrap their heads around it and point a finger to ONE cause. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: January 15th, 2019 8:41 PM

This is about government power and control. Also, it's a great way for the government to collect money. You may want to look at Paris to see where you want us to go, even though it wouldn't matter to a true believer, like yourself.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 15th, 2019 7:33 PM

If you want us to put real dollars on the table, you need to put real facts there to justify the tax. All you seem to come up with is opinions and feel good theories that somehow put money into the government where they wast it all and still more. When you say " Climate scientists both" does that mean that there are two scientists who agree. To claim that we have had 4 years of the hottest temperatures in history, you better have some reliable sources for that statement since all data I have seen verifies that our global temperatures have been relatively flat for the last 15 years. Look at the "sky is falling" predictions for the last 40 years and you will see that none of the predictions have even slightly occurred. Al gore did parley fear into a billion dollar net worth could there be any connection - - nah no one could be that naive!.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad