Hope for climate change progress

To the editor:

2018 was a tough year for those of us worried about climate change. While the West choked on smoky air and Californians died in wildfires, one disturbing report after another warned of a future filled with more floods, fires, drought and disease if we keep burning fossil fuels.

But one very positive thing happened in 2018, and I’m optimistic that can lead to more progress in 2019.

Near the end of the last congressional session, the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act was introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate. This legislation would begin charging an escalating fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. It is expected to be reintroduced this year.

Supporters of the bill — including a group I volunteer for, Citizens’ Climate Lobby — project this could reduce emissions by at least 40 percent within 12 years. To help offset the rising energy costs from the fee, the money raised would be sent back to every U.S. household in the form of a monthly dividend.

Because we have waited so long to address climate change, we will likely need other solutions in addition to this legislation, but this bipartisan solution is an important place to start.

I encourage Rep. Elise Stefanik and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to support this legislation and help put us on the path to a more sustainable future.

Cathy Brown

Saranac Lake