Year 4, Month 10, Day 18: If I Ran The Circus

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA) introduces us to the heroes at Citizens Climate Lobby:

Robert Haw says solving the problem of global warming is easy.

No, really. He’s dead serious.

Haw has a bona-fide plan and he’s taking it to each of the 535 members of Congress. As president of the Pasadena-Foothills Chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby, the JPL scientist from Altadena says his group is creating a buzz in Washington with a rebate version of a revenue-neutral carbon tax that combines market forces with consumerism to drive up the cost of fossil fuels and make renewable energy more affordable.

So far, the plan has picked up endorsements from former Secretary of State George Schultz and supply-side economist Arthur Laffer, who was an adviser to Ronald Reagan.

But the most important person to convince is the ordinary American, Haw said. His group is succeeding on that front, too. When Haw started the Pasadena-Foothills chapter a year ago, there were 33 chapters. Today there are 108 chapters. “We’ve been doubling in size every year,” he said.

Citizens Climate Lobby aims to convert Americans to the belief that the problem of rising global temperatures, extreme weather events, more droughts and melting glaciers is indeed fixable in our lifetime.

It’s not as simple as that. But it’s that simple. October 9:

A carbon tax is essential for reinventing our global energy economy. While it’s not the sole solution to climate change — because the climate crisis isn’t a single problem with a single solution — it’s a crucial ingredient in the mix.

The first law of problem-solving is a simple one: if you’re in a hole, stop digging. Industrialized civilization’s past century of greenhouse emissions has put us in a very big hole; even if we stopped releases tomorrow it’d be several decades at least before we could observe the slightest slowdown in climate change, due to the gradual nature of the buildup and the very long “residence time” of atmospheric CO2.

An old proverb puts it well: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” A tax on carbon emissions would benefit future generations enormously while mildly inconveniencing our own.

Warren Senders

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