Carbon Dividend Act
a needed climate solution
I read with mounting dismay the recent front-page news story by RTD meteorologist John Boyer, "Richmond's 20-day 90s streak may make this hottest July yet." The longest string of Richmond summer nights above 70 degrees grew from 21 days in 1898 to 31 days in 2013. Mean July temperatures rose 2.7 degrees over the past 50 years. As climate change rapidly is accelerating, this indicates that mean July temperatures will rise much more than 2.7 degrees in the next 50 years.
The current pandemic is closing many of the traditional cooling shelters of our society, such as movie theaters, restaurants and libraries. The poor and the powerless do not have ways to stay alive in the brave new world we are creating with those heat-trapping greenhouse gases that Boyer discusses. The pandemic will pass. But homeless people and elderly folks without air conditioning still will find their lives increasingly at risk, when midsummer night temperatures gradually pass 80 degrees with high humidity and daytime highs pass 100.
It is possible that the November election might create a potential pathway for both political parties to forge climate solutions in 2021. If this pathway appears, we must walk it together before it disappears for another 20 years. It is critical to avoid solutions that feel good but yield no results, sitting back to watch lawmakers make promises they cannot keep. We must price carbon and refund the money to empower citizens to participate in their own survival with their own financial choices. The bill before Congress is called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.