Thursday, February 4, 2016

Letter: Time to act, not debate

40,000 people from across the planet attended the Paris climate talks, but around here it seems that people wonder what all the fuss is about. After the great weather we’ve had recently that’s probably understandable. Some people are convinced that climate change is a farce meant to promote some job-killing liberal agenda or at best an unavoidable demonstration of natural cycles. Around here we have closely linked climate change “belief” to political affiliation.

It is happening though, even here where the affects at present seem to be limited to a shortened maple syrup season and changes in the usual patterns of bird migration. The Department of Defense now says that climate change is getting a lot worse and adds great risk to national security. The DOD warns of mass migrations from new areas of severe heat drought and from land areas subject to rising seas. Less of the globe will be inhabitable very soon, and those peoples will be on the move.

The irony is that the most effective solution to the climate threat is coming from conservative political thought. It uses a free-market approach that has actually been demonstrated to work in British Columbia: carbon fee and dividend. It doesn’t depend on government regulation or “letting government pick winners and losers”, a major problem for Republicans. It will be more effective overall than power plant regulations as President Obama has ordered. It can be applied globally and to be effective must be.

Look up Citizen’s Climate Lobby to get the details on how carbon fee and dividend works, and how it accomplishes massive carbon reduction without increasing government size or regulation. There are also plenty of articles on-line about Republican solutions for climate change, many appearing in the last few months.

As these conservative solutions to climate change become better known, Republican voters will be increasingly willing to acknowledge their concern. It is already happening. A University of Texas poll shows that 59% of Republicans worry that climate change is occurring. Concern is even higher among younger Republicans. Politicians are listening. 12 Republican House members have signed on to the Gibson resolution to move Congress to act.

Politically we have plenty of polarizing issues. Now that there are reasonable solutions from both Right and Left, we should stop wasting time debating whether there is a climate problem. There is, it’s critical, and we need to move the debate to the best ways to solve it.

-Gerry Lisi, Rice Lake
Gerry Lisi is Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Barron County

This letter appeared in the Rice Lake Chronotype on December 7, 2015