Republican voters do like a market-based climate solution, contrary to the assertion of Bloomberg columnist Ramesh Ponnuru (“Hey, Dems: We won’t pay your carbon taxes,” Sept. 10).
A May 2019 survey of likely voters found that a carbon fee/dividends plan has majority support across party lines — including 4-1 support overall, 2-1 support from GOP voters and 75% support from Republicans under 40.
The survey was sponsored by the Climate Leadership Council, an international policy institute founded by GOP business and political leaders. Luntz Global conducted the poll.
There will never be a single, perfect climate solution. But we urgently need a policy capable of delivering and inspiring a systemwide course correction.
The best approach is to make carbon polluters pay and return the revenue directly to citizens through regular dividends. This would simultaneously discourage carbon emissions, reward good behavior and build popular support for a new energy economy.
A carbon dividends framework is uniquely suited to our current political moment. And in the recent survey, 69% of GOP voters “worried that their party’s stance on climate change is hurting them with young voters.”
Elections are approaching fast. GOP leaders, take note!
Claudia Egelhoff, West St. Paul
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Ponnuru makes the case that while Republicans are out-of-step by denying human-caused climate change, Democrats are naive in thinking that U.S. voters will favor taxes to address the problem. His analysis misses a crucial point.
The question is not whether people will pay but rather who will pay. The bill for climate change will come in the form of coastal property and other storm damage; increased energy costs; loss of life, health, and workplace productivity from heat-related illness; decreased agricultural productivity; and many other insidious forms. Numerous studies have put the dollar value of losses in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Even President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency puts the social cost of carbon dioxide emissions (only one greenhouse gas) in 2020 at $42 dollars per ton (range $12 to $123).
The costs are not borne in proportion to responsibility for the emissions. In general, the wealthy are better able to afford these external costs than the poor, and the rich are responsible for a greater proportion of the emissions. A more equitable solution would be to put a cost on the emissions and use the revenue to offset the damages.
Climate change is a crisis. If we are to have a glimmer of hope, we need to make it costly to cause the problem so that we will find solutions.
Gregory Pratt, Minneapolis
Think the Democrats’ climate plan is bad? Consider the Republicans’.
Lisa Benson’s Sept. 10 political cartoon with the label “Democrats’ climate plan” followed by the tagline “Some things that you can kiss goodbye” will mislead half the U.S. population. She should draw the same cartoon with the caption “Republicans’ climate plan” followed by the tagline, “You can kiss your a** goodbye!”
Whoops, the column below the Benson cartoon weighed in on cursing by our “foul-mouthed president” and others (“I swear — cursing won’t earn you any votes in 2020 election”). Guess I’m not helping.
P.S. Last week, I nearly burnt my fingers replacing a candelabra light bulb. Really would like an LED version.
S. Steve Adkins, Lakeville
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
If you don’t have funding for so many games, don’t have so many
A good place to start filling the Minnesota State High School League’s financial void: Cut back on the number of events for each year, in every sport (“MSHSL seeking shortfall solutions,” Sept. 10).
The young people (and the entire population) are sleep-deprived. Kids need more time to relax, daydream, visit, read, etc. Fewer vehicle trips to excessive sports events would also help decrease the environmental degradation associated with too much team activity.
Sharon Fortunak, St. Paul
Refugees are the bogeyman. Again.
As hundreds of survivors flee the Bahamas, refugees from the devastation of Dorian who did not manage to save or bring their U.S. visa travel documents as the hurricane devastated their homes and all civilization around them were removed from a U.S.-bound ferry (“Dorian survivors halted at Fla. port,” Sept. 10). And President Donald Trump championed the ruthless rejection.
“We have to be very careful,” Trump said. “Everybody needs totally proper documentation because, look … I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States — including some very bad people and very bad gang members.”
Has anyone noticed that Donald Trump’s world is teeming with “very bad people” and that he is intensely determined to keep them far away?
This president’s fears and phobias insist that he allow no quarter to those who do not share his life of privilege. They are the bogeymen who lived under his childhood bed, terrified him there, and have followed him into his seniority. And they are the bogeymen who will accompany our country into its decline if we do not take hold of our government “of the people, by the people, for the people” — and this taking hold is, as President Abraham Lincoln assured us, the only path that will protect us from “perish[ing] from the earth.”
Shawn O’Rourke Gilbert, Edina
No finer public servants anywhere
What might be perceived as a minor league “rhubarb” between National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-National Weather Service and the Trump administration is of major concern to many in the science community, especially in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences (“Did NOAA get Cabinet-level threat?” front page, Sept. 10).
The concern is justified. In over 40 years working with NOAA colleagues, especially meteorologists, climatologists and hydrologists, I developed a great admiration for their scientific integrity and their commitment to serve the public with the best science-based information available. In my opinion, there are no finer public servants. When President Donald Trump stepped in and cried wolf over the forecast guidance provided for Hurricane Dorian by the NOAA-National Hurricane Center (he said that Alabama would be hit harder than anticipated), he was either playing a political game or grossly misinterpreting the models and guidance, as well as abusing the protocols for conveying forecasts in probabilistic terms.
The Birmingham, Ala., NWS office was absolutely correct to issue a public statement of correction and clarification for Alabama citizens. The office followed all the norms of NOAA training and protocol and is to be commended for its actions, not reprimanded. I am glad to see Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service, defending his staff in the media.
The virtue of humility that so many meteorologists acquire either through training or experience has apparently been forsaken in the upbringing of our president, as he cannot simply say, “I got it wrong, and I apologize.”
Mark W. Seeley, St. Paul
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