Citizen Climate Lobby Volunteer and Executive Director warn of things to come
The shocking extreme weather conditions of recent times, from the deadly devastation of Hurricane Ida to wildfires forcing evacuations from Lake Tahoe, do not surprise scientists who have warned for decades that we are heading towards climate catastrophe.
“These extremes are something we knew was happening,” climatologist Katharine Hayhoe recently told HYPERLINK, “https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/07/03/climate-change-heat-dome-death / “the Washington Post. “The suffering that is here and now is due to our failure to heed the warnings enough.”
These warnings date back to 1988, when Dr. James Hansen, then a NASA scientist, told Congress that “we can attribute with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and the observed warming. “.
The “greenhouse effect” that Dr. Hansen referred to is the extra carbon dioxide humans emitted by burning coal, oil and gas. The more CO2 accumulates, the more heat is trapped in the atmosphere. 2021 offers an unfortunate glimpse of the hellish future that lies ahead if the world does not take decisive action to drastically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change.
A warming climate has contributed to conditions supercharged by HYPERLINK “https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/29/climate/hurricane-ida-category.html” in the Gulf of Mexico, with water temperatures unusually warm seas helping to fuel Hurricane Ida inland on its way to destruction in Louisiana. It roared on shore with sustained winds of 150 mph, leaving low-lying communities underwater and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity or running water. Unfortunately, the storm’s wrath did not end there, with the resulting tropical depression fueling conditions for HYPERLINK “https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/catastrophic-tornado-rips-apart-homes-in -mullica-hill- nj / 2945837 / “Dangerous tornadoes and record rains over New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania with HYPERLINK” https://abcnews.go.com/US/idas-remnants-deluge-york- jersey-flooding-rain- tornadoes / story? id = 79780365 “fatal consequences.
This weather catastrophe is the latest in a rapid succession of weather events brought on by climate change across the United States. communities.
Just ten days before Ida, New York City was reeling from unprecedented precipitation as Hurricane Henri generated record precipitation with 1.91 inches falling between 11 p.m. and midnight on August 21. This record was quickly broken by Ida with HYPERLINK “https: //twitter.com/climatologist49/status/1433274113859014656?s=12” 3.15 inches falling in one hour. When incidents like this happen one after another, cities and states don’t have time to recover, putting them even more at risk.
Meanwhile, in the west, California firefighters face HYPERLINK “https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/31/us/lake-tahoe-nevada-fire.html” an uphill battle against the Caldor’s fire as it threatens the resort town of South Lake Tahoe. No wildfire had ever crossed the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada eastward until this summer – when it happened twice. Much like the Dixie Fire, now the largest California wildfire in state history, the Caldor Fire spreads with unexpected ferocity.
Here in Oregon, we are experiencing an unrelenting drought, with over 99% of Newberg’s land area under “D2 – severe drought” as classified by www.drought.gov. Even though the historic Bootleg fire was contained several weeks ago, fire crews continue to tackle a series of fires in a forest corridor east of I-5. Agriculture has also been severely affected by the lack of water. Newberg has barely had a downpour since the start of summer.
The cumulative effect of these weather disasters sends a clear message: it’s time to tackle climate change.
Signs of hope have emerged recently as the process of budget reconciliation continues in Congress. The budget plan contains measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of halving these emissions within 10 years. To achieve this goal, the budget reconciliation bill should include the most effective essential tool for reducing carbon pollution: a robust HYPERLINK “https://citizensclimatelobby.org/price-on-carbon/” price on carbon.
Several bills have been introduced to put a heavy price on carbon, and the political idea has bipartisan appeal. These bills would protect US companies with a mechanism to adjust carbon borders on imports from countries that are not priced for carbon. The budget reconciliation proposal includes such a carbon tax at the borders. In order to comply with World Trade Organization rules, the United States would likely have HYPERLINK “https://www.niskanencenter.org/can-we-have-a-carbon-border-tax-without-a- national-carbon-price / “need a domestic carbon price to impose a border tax.
To ensure that the indispensable tool of carbon pricing is included in future legislation, we call on Senators Wyden and Merkley and Congresswoman Bonamici to support carbon pricing as part of the budget reconciliation negotiations.
It is encouraging that Suzanne Bonamici already understands the importance of a price on carbon. The select committee on the climate crisis, of which she is a member, released an action plan on climate change in June 2020, which states that “Congress should repeal tax breaks for large oil and gas companies as a first step towards the construction of a fairer tax code. which supports the achievement of net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. Congress should also put a price on carbon to correct the market’s failure to factor in the costs of unmitigated pollution.
The numerous natural disasters that have occurred in the 15 months since the publication of this action plan only underscore the urgency of climate legislation.
Recent extreme weather disasters highlight that we are running out of time to tackle climate change. The solutions must go further in Congress or we will all suffer the consequences in the future.
Henry Williams is a volunteer with the Portland chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Mark Reynolds is the Executive Director of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby
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