Tom Jacob’s op-ed in the April 22 Landmark (“Our journey home: an Earth Day 2020 challenge,” Opinion) is a timely reminder of the climate challenge facing us in 2020.
Earth Day has passed with little attention this year as a result of our rightful preoccupation with the COVID-19 crisis. The connections of environmental issues with the global pandemic are apparent, however.
Recent epidemics such as Ebola, SARS1 and MERS and now COVID have arisen as humans interact in new ways with other species on the earth. Climate change has driven the uprooting and migration of people in Africa and Asia in particular.
Jacobs is optimistic about our progress in uncoupling GDP growth in the U.S. from carbon emissions. Much work is needed to reduce future fossil fuel emissions. He points out that climate action starts with attitude.
Polls have shown that most Americans accept that climate change is an issue that should be addressed. Many accept that the time to act is limited. One way we can move now is to support H.R 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, currently before the U.S. House of Representatives.
This bill would create a market-based approach to lowering carbon emissions by imposing an increasing fee on fossil fuel producers and returning the proceeds in the form of a dividend to citizens. This bill has bipartisan support in the House and is co-sponsored by our local representatives, Dan Lipinski, Jesus Garcia and Danny Davis, among others.
Momentum in the Senate is also building with the recent formation of a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. It would be a fitting tribute to Earth Month 2020 to move these efforts forward.