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LETTER: Time to charge carbon polluters for their garbage

Mike Omlor
Washington Township

Thank you for your Nov. 29 editorial “Time to do the chores” and your Dec. 5 article “37 years of climate simulations ‘have gotten it right.’”

As your editorial points out, we have much work to do in reducing global emissions, not only other countries’, but our own as well. According to the Rhodium Group, which tracks greenhouse gas emissions “CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion rose by 2.7% in 2018, the second largest annual increase since 2000.”

U.S. carbon pollution is on the rise thanks to the Trump administration doing away with climate protections put in place by the previous administration. Given the climate simulations were right for the last 37 years (there goes the climate change denier argument that “the models are all wrong”), we should be extremely concerned about where today’s models are saying we will be going with our current lack of action.

More:Climate scientists try to cut their own carbon footprints

More:EDITORIAL: Do the chores to stop climate change

File - In this Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 file photo, commuters make their way along an expressway during rush hour in Beijing. According to Chinese state media, the average concentration of PM2.5 fine air pollutants in Beijing in August was at the lowest level ever recorded for that month. Inger Andersen, head of the U.N. Environment Program, says the world needs 'quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020.' Ahead of a global climate summit in Madrid next week, her agency published a report Tuesday showing the amount of planet-heating gases released into the atmosphere hitting a new high last year. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, file)

Congress can start by charging polluters for their carbon pollution. Rising energy costs from a fee on fossil fuels can be offset by returning 100% of the revenue collected. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA) does just this. The act will reduce America's emissions by at least 40% in the first 12 years and create 2.1 million net jobs in a decade. The act will improve health and save lives by reducing pollution that Americans breathe. Poor air quality causes an estimated 114,000 U.S. deaths each year and sickens thousands more.

Additionally, the carbon dividend puts money directly into people's pockets every month to spend as they see fit, helping low- and middle-income Americans. Reps. Lloyd Smucker and Scott Perry should sign on as co-sponsors. There are 75 in the House of Representatives currently with Reps. Susan Wild, Dwight Evans, Madeleine Dean and Matt Cartwright, the only co-sponsors from Pennsylvania.

It's time to do the chore of charging polluters for their garbage.