We, law and decision makers, are all concerned about adequate water for our agricultural crops, cities and rural homes. This prompts expansion of surface water storage. Our watersheds are suffering and the underlying cause is not just a short-term drought. Climate change is causing low precipitation, melting glaciers, changes in precipitation timing, and extreme weather events.
One Washington state report details some of the impacts we can expect now and in the future, stating, “Washington crops and livestock will be affected by climate change via warming temperatures, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, increasing water stress, declining availability of irrigation water and changing pressures from pests, weeds and pathogens. Different crops and locations will experience different impacts.”
Sadly, proposals to manage water are band-aid solutions that don’t treat the grave underlying illness of climate change. We can’t just continue business as usual and keep using the fossil fuels that cause it. But we also just can’t shut off the lights.
To gracefully and steadily speed our necessary transition to a low-carbon energy economy and reduce our fossil fuel emissions, we need to put a price on carbon pollution. This will be the best first step towards stopping climate change due to our ever-increasing carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions.
We urge our representative, Doc Hastings, and other representatives concerned about both the public’s and agriculture’s future in the Yakima Valley to enact the Citizens Climate Lobby fee-and-dividend legislative proposal (please see www.citizensclimatelobby.org).
The fee is collected on carbon-based fuels at the source. It starts at $15 per ton of carbon dioxide from any carbon-based source and increases steadily each year by $10. Every American household receives all of the money collected evenly in a monthly dividend check. Not one dime goes to the government, and no new bloated government bureaucracy is created.
The predictably increasing carbon prices will send a clear market signal which frees businesses and entrepreneurs to invest in low-carbon energy solutions. A border tax adjustment will protect us from imports from countries that don’t have a comparable price on carbon. To see how the fee works, you can use the spreadsheet in www.carbontax.org.
It’s estimated that in a decade, we’ll see low-carbon energy sources cheaper than fossil fuels and we’ll reduce our CO2 emissions, setting us on a path towards stabilizing our climate. British Columbia has reduced its fossil fuel emissions by almost 18 percent since 2008 using this approach.
Yes, our energy prices will go up. Food that requires lots of carbon emissions to produce will become more expensive and vice versa, but that will encourage support for local farms versus buying food from countries half way around the world.
By providing households with a cushion against the rising fee, and allowing them to use their dividend for any and all expenses, low and middle income people (that’s most of us) will reduce the carbon emissions to come out ahead and make smart energy choices.
This is an honest, clear and effective way to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions and it will treat the root cause of our water shortage problem for the long-term.
/s/ Alexandra Amonette and Shirley Lucas, Richland