To the editor:
(re: “To U.S. Rep. Engel: The birth pangs of the Green New Deal,” Feb. 21)
A recent Point of View by Jennifer Scarlott urges U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel to support the Green New Deal. I would add to the arguments presented in the letter the fact that the science shows passage of the Green New Deal is essential: We have only until 2030 to reach net-carbon neutrality, and the Green New Deal is the only plan that can achieve that goal.
If we fail, the result will be runaway global warming.
We must act now or we will then no longer be in a position to combat this existential threat. The costs of dealing with it will be too overwhelming. The best estimates of the cost of future climate change, unchecked, are between $550 trillion and $600 trillion. That’s twice the amount of total global wealth.
Global temperature rise of just a half-degree would cost $54 trillion. The longer we delay, the more it will cost.
On the other hand, rabid decarbonization would add $26 trillion to the global economy by 2030. And in the United States, the Green New Deal will create 15 million good-paying jobs that will be local and permanent, a great boost to our economy.
Also, much of the cost of the Green New Deal can be paid for by the fossil fuel corporations that caused this crisis. They knew in the 1970s the disastrous results that continuing to produce and sell their products would have, and they not only kept this information hidden, they spent billions to secretly finance a massive media campaign of climate change denial for decades.
The co-director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change says, “The Green New Deal could work, but only (with) carbon pricing.” We need to pass both the Green New Deal and the Carbon Dividend Act by February 2021. That means electing congressional representatives in 2020 who will pledge to vote for both plans.
The Carbon Dividend Act, now on the floor of the House, can use a carbon tax substantial enough to put them out of business. All the proceeds of the annually increasing tax would go to the taxpayers.
Now that solar/wind energy are cheaper than any fossil fuels, consumers can easily switch providers and make a profit as their “carbon dividends” get bigger every year.
As renewables scale up, their prices will continue to plummet. All this will increase U.S. gross domestic product between $75 billion and $80 billion annually.
And carbon dividends can do something else the Green New Deal can’t: It will use market forces to get other nations to cut their emissions. That’s essential because global warming is a global problem.