Many thanks to the Review for Alexa Stevens’ fine article and your good editorial about the Global Climate Strike (“Sunrise Strikes for Brighter Future” and “Oberlin Climate Strike Engages International Emergency,”, Sept. 13, 2019 ). Your editorial is absolutely right in stating that climate change is “a quickly-approaching emergency” and that “this is a fight of and for our lives.”
It’s very heartening to see a worldwide movement of young people raising awareness of this issue and it’s exciting to see such engagement here in Oberlin. I’m looking forward to seeing what I hope will be massive global participation in the strike, accompanied by widespread media coverage.
I encourage everyone in this country who is concerned about climate change to think carefully about the best political strategy for accomplishing what absolutely has to be done to meet this global challenge. To do our part, the U.S. simply must pass through Congress and sign into law effective legislation that will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to levels that will limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as recommended by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Such legislation has to be sustainable over time. It cannot be a bill that, when passed, generates such strong opposition that it will be undermined, overturned, or weakened when control of Congress changes from one party to another.
In my view, such legislation has to have significant bipartisan support. By that, I mean it must have enough Republican support that it won’t be viewed in subsequent years as highly partisan. There are encouraging signs of change within the Republican Party that suggest that such a strategy is achievable. As but one example, Senator Mike Braun of Indiana has recently joined Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware in forming a U.S. Senate climate solutions working group. A similar group in the U.S. House, which was facilitated by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, has already produced positive results — including the introduction of several carbon-pricing bills.
I believe the best bill so far, the one that will be effective in reducing emissions and has the potential for gaining the needed bipartisan support, is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763), which is supported by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. It would put a steadily rising fee on fossil fuels at their source, returning the net revenue from those fees to all Americans on an equal basis. Conservatives like it because it’s a market-based approach that’s revenue neutral. Folks like me like it because it would be effective, reducing U.S. emissions by at least 40 percent in the first 12 years. You can learn about the bill and how to express support for it in Congress at: https://energyinnovationact.org.
Passing a bill like the EICD Act won’t fully solve the challenge of climate change, but it will be an essential first step. Among the many things we need to do, foremost on my list is the need to elect an American president who will help push bipartisan legislation forward and also re-engage with the nations of the world on this issue.
This means that Donald Trump must be defeated. He’s the dark shadow hovering over those senators and representatives in his party who would like to step out on this issue and work for an effective bipartisan solution. He has denied climate change, worked to defeat Republicans who challenged his negative climate change policy, has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, and alienated countries that would be our strong allies on this issue. We must make him an ex-president in 2021.