To the editor:
For someone my age, it seems rather ridiculous that climate change is such a contentious issue or that people want to debate the science behind it. This year's IPCC Climate Report from the UN (a very legitimate group of scientists, by the way) is pretty clear and confident about human activity warming the planet. I even learned recently that once upon a time, the whole "greenhouse effect" was a bipartisan issue, with the likes of George H.W. Bush talking about fighting the greenhouse effect with the "White House effect." And one time Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi did a PSA together about solving climate change?! What the heck happened?
What is most maddening to me is that we have known for a long time why the climate is changing (since the mid 1800s; burning fossil fuels), and we're still kicking this can down the road. All sorts of cutting edge R&D has developed renewable and clean ways to create energy, but as long as oil and gas remain lucrative for powerful industries, those new technologies have a hard time breaking into the market. Meanwhile, cheap fossil fuel does not remotely reflect its true cost on society. One way to correct that market failure, and bring new cleaner technology to market, is to put a price on those harmful emissions.
Climate scientist James Hansen testified before Congress in 1988, the year before I was born, about the dangers of global warming. Now here I am, a grown woman over a decade out of college, thinking, "Gee, the grownups didn't deal with this. I hate to pass this buck onto the next generation; those poor kids already have to go to school in a global pandemic." Climate and economic experts alike widely agree that certain policy levers, like a price on carbon, can be very effective at moving society to a low-emissions scenario. Congress, can y'all do some legislating on climate, please? It's for the kids.