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New Year’s resolution to fight climate change

January 3, 2018
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

At this time of holiday celebration and end of the year activities, we tend to look back on the year behind us. For most of us in Cape Coral, one of our less pleasant memories is of Hurricane Irma. Although our experiences were different, we all remember the feelings of worry, uncertainty, and fear of this historic storm. Many of us experienced property loss and power outages. I had recently moved to Cape Coral, and was dismayed to discover severe seawall damage, resulting in a costly repair.

We know now that Irma broke records for sustained winds (winds at 185 mph or above for 37 hours). And, we also know that this hurricane was part of a three-pronged disaster (Harvey, Irma, and Maria) that devastated large areas of the south, Texas, numerous Caribbean islands, and of course, Puerto Rico.

I began to ask myself: Are we doomed to a new world where these super storms are commonplace, and will this eventually render places like Cape Coral uninhabitable? Climate experts have concluded that global warming has contributed to the strength, size, and duration of hurricanes, and therefore the potential for catastrophic damage. All scientists agree that the burning of fossil fuels has caused this change, which continues to grow year by year.

But there is hope. We can change the course of our future if we have the courage to change.

I recently started volunteering for an organization called the Climate Change Lobby, non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change, with a chapter in Fort Myers. This organization has created a solution for reducing greenhouse gases and encourage clean energy sources to thrive. It is a Carbon Fee and Dividend policy, endorsed by scientists and supported by leaders in both political parties.

The proposal is simple: Impose a carbon fee on fossil fuels at their source, based on the CO2 emissions they will produce, starting at $15 per ton, and increasing each year. Return that fee to all consumers in the form of a monthly dividend, or rebate, that will offset the increased cost of "dirty" energy. The result: Create a stronger demand for clean energy, leading to reduced cost, and an eventual replacement of green house gases with clean energy (solar and wind). Since this is a political solution, it requires political collaboration and agreement. Fortunately, so far, it is backed by both political parties around the country, including Republican Carlos Cubelo and Democrat Ted Deutch of Florida.

It gives me hope to know that divergent groups are working together for a common, urgent cause. Let's join them and make a New Year's resolution to educate ourselves about climate change, and give our support to the courageous and dedicated citizens and politicians who are working for a sustainable future.

Laurel Chandler

Cape Coral



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