Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

February 7, 2014

Letters to the Editor: 02/07/2014

Carbon tax essential

According to a Jan. 18 PolitiFact.com report, 55 percent of voters between ages 18 and 34 believe climate change is a severe threat that must be addressed now. Meanwhile, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that humans are causing the planet to warm, the consequences of which we are already witnessing with drought, rising seas and extreme weather.

There’s also consensus among economists across the political spectrum favoring a steadily rising tax on carbon to discourage carbon consumption. It addresses the external costs of pollution that we now pay for with our tax dollars and through health and insurance costs. Also, a carbon tax is far more efficient than regulatory measures.

And efficiency is essential given the urgency of the problem we face. A recent study in Nature shows that if we continue burning fossil fuels at current rates, by 2047 average temperatures on most of Earth will permanently shift outside historic bounds. In other words, the coldest year in the future will be warmer than the hottest year in the past.

That may sound nice this cold winter, but it doesn’t make for a very habitable planet. My child will be 41 in 2047. How old will yours be?

Elizabeth Dell

Traverse City

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