• people walking with an enormous earth

      Climate activists at the end of the 2022 Rose Parade (Photo – Melissa Michelson)

      “The time for talk is over,” say the two most prestigious science academies in the world: the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of the UK. “We are at Code Red” says the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC.

      By Sandy Krasner and Jan Freed

      The effects of climate change are everywhere around us. Right here in Pasadena we face water shortages, growing heat waves, and an estimated $2000/yr. per person just for the health impacts of fossil fuel pollution.

      The number of billion-dollar climate disasters per year is currently at least five times what it was in the 1980’s.  In North America, the IPCC has ‘very high confidence’ of increasing disasters including infectious diseases, malnutrition, decreasing mental health, increased human displacement, floods/storms and damage to both infrastructure and key economic sectors can be attributed to climate change.

      In terrestrial ecosystems, up to 14% of the species assessed in the IPCC report will likely face very high risk of extinction if the global temperature rises by1.5°C (2.7°F); that becomes 39% at 3°C (5.4°F). Bees that pollinate our crops are dying off because the climate has changed from what they are adapted to.

      Many Americans are doing what they can do individually, but it is time for the government to step in – at local, state, federal and international levels. What are the most effective solutions? Should “everything” be on the table? No

      Plant a trillion trees? If you can plant 1000 trees/second you’ll be planting trees for the next 35 years.  They cut carbon nicely after a couple of decades growth, but we cannot afford to wait decades.

      Direct air capture (DAC)? Too costly. Consider:  Capturing 2% of global CO2 emissions (1 gigaton) requires $300 billion/year. And expect no return on investment: Ain’t gonna happen.

      Wind and solar power are here now, and cheaper and cleaner than any other power source. We just need to invest in them.

      What is our ‘best shot’?  Putting a price on carbon is the most effective, the simplest to implement, and the least painful. A price on carbon has been urged by dozens of Nobel economists, the National Academy of Sciences, MIT, the IMF, the World Bank, the IPCC and others.

      When you put a price on carbon (paid by polluters), green products and services are less expensive and more attractive.  Studies show, for example, that a bill like HR2307 that places a growing fee on polluters, would get us close to 50% cuts by 2030, giving us a chance to stay under 3.6 deg F.

      Why the least painful?  Because the IRS could send those fees, 100% of them, back to all citizens.  You could buy more costly dirty energy products with the rebate or save money by going green.  Utilities, manufacturers, and investors would have the incentive to invest in clean energy. Low carbon innovation, say economists, would be incentivized along with millions of new careers that can’t be outsourced.

      And because global warming is global, HR2307 requires that import goods be taxed, unless they are low carbon products. This will send a strong signal to laggard nations.

      Dear Reader: Don’t give up on fighting climate change.  Doing something is much better. You can learn more at citizensclimatelobby.org (a non-profit, non-partisan community). You can email your Congressperson and let your representatives know that you support pricing carbon..

      You can support an effort in Pasadena to ban natural-gas in new construction. You can work with your fellow citizens to encourage Pasadena Water and Power to buy more green energy. Take action now!

      Alfred Lord Tennyson said “The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs… Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.” A livable planet: What a joy!

      Sandy Krasner is the Citizens Climate Lobby, Pasadena-Foothills Chapter Group leader. Jan Freed is a former science teacher and a member of Citizens Climate Lobby.


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      Comments

      1. Jan Freed says:

        Every 0.1 deg C of warming we avoid has massive and positive effects in avoiding further unraveling of our planet’s life supports. Yes, we are silly creatures, I agree, and we have waited too long…let’s just not wait to act any longer.

        • Thom Hawkins says:

          I see no evidence that humanity will make the changes, big or small, necessary to avoid “further unraveling.” In fact, I see just the opposite, I am very sorry to say. I admire the few who want to try.

      2. Thom Hawkins says:

        If Tennyson were alive today, he would say, “’Tis much too late to seek a newer world.” Humans are determined to remain on their destructive path. They excel at it. It’s what they’ve always done, despite a few rare voices of sanity. Far too few. (Degrowth would be a good place to start–put the brakes on over-consumption. Never going to happen.)

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