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With almost two months left to go, the 2017 hurricane season is breaking records. The combined costs of Harvey, Irma and Maria are nearly $400 billion; almost 300 people in the region have lost their lives. How many category 5 hurricanes will it take before we commit to effective action against climate change?
Furthermore, the science is clear: While individual hurricanes aren't caused by climate change, global warming increases the length and intensity of storms 2-11 percent, according to a recent review published by NOAA. The same review predicted that rainfall associated with tropical storms will increase by 10-15 percent.
The need to accurately assess the human cost of climate change is why Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet has just introduced the Pollution Transparency Act to help ensure these costs are measured and reported accurately. The need for effective action is why the U.S. House of Representative's bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus has just reached 60 members, including Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman. These are essential pieces of the climate change puzzle, but they are only the first steps.
We need a climate "insurance policy" before it's too late. This is why the Citizens' Climate Lobby supports the Carbon Fee and Dividend policy. A national, revenue-neutral carbon fee-and-dividend system (CF&D) would place a predictable, steadily rising price on carbon, with all fees collected minus administrative costs returned to households as a monthly energy dividend. The economic consulting company REMI estimates that in 20 years, carbon fee-and-dividend will reduce CO2 emissions 52 percent below 1990 levels, create an economic stimulus that adds 2.8 million jobs to the economy, and prevent over 230,000 premature deaths.
It's time to acknowledge the costs of climate change and do something about it.
Lesley LeFevre and Emily Wortman-Wunder
Citizens' Climate Lobby
South Metro Denver Chapter
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