WEATHER »

The Climate’s a-Gonna Change

Want to Do Something BIG About It?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Comments
Share Article

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is very clear: Our world is already experiencing disastrous climate changes due to greenhouse gas emissions from our use of carbon fuels. Among the harmful changes reported are melting ice caps, collapsing sea ice, rising sea levels, acidifying oceans, dying coral reefs, intensifying heat waves and rain storms, stressed water supplies, and declining food production. As the chair of the IPCC Rajendra K. Pachauri says, “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.”

Click to enlarge photo

California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

Alarming changes are occurring here in California, including the examples shown in the accompanying info-graphic. According to Sam Delson, spokesperson for the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, “The nature of these changes is that they are occurring gradually, but the impacts are significant and growing.”

All of the 100 glaciers remaining in California’s Sierra Nevada are shrinking. For example, Yosemite’s Lyell Glacier, the headwater of the Tuolumne River watershed, has dropped 62 percent of its mass and lost 120 vertical feet of ice in the last century. Greg Stock, the Yosemite’s geologist, says, “We give it 20 years or so of existence — then it’ll vanish, leaving behind rocky debris.”

Much of California’s water supply for homes and agriculture comes from the glaciers and snow pack of our Sierra Nevada mountains. The imminent disappearance of many California glaciers threatens the long-term security of our water supply here in Santa Barbara.

No human argument will prevent ice from changing into water when the temperature shifts from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 33 degrees Fahrenheit. The climate of our planet is not controlled by our wishes and opinions; it only responds to the natural forces that drive it.

So how can we significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to temper the impacts of climate change? As individuals we can make personal choices to reduce our use of carbon fuels, but we also must make major policy changes to shift our country’s economy from carbon fuels to clean, renewable energy sources.

America’s history shows that when faced with great threats and challenges we can cooperate to achieve great things. During World War II, we helped stop the threat of global tyranny. In the 1960s we landed men on the Moon. Climate change is a threat greater than the fascism of the 20th century, a challenge more daunting than putting a man on the Moon. We have the capacity to avoid a catastrophic future, but only if we respond to this crisis with a historic level of urgency and effort.

The use of carbon fuels produces most of our greenhouse gas emissions. Currently the price of carbon fuels does not reflect the enormous health, security, and environmental costs that arise from their use. A carbon tax can fix this price distortion without the need for regulations or subsidies. The resulting market forces would create strong incentives for increasing energy efficiency and clean energy production, thus reducing emissions quickly.

A growing number of people believe that a national carbon tax is the most efficient, transparent, and enforceable mechanism to drive an effective and fair transition to the clean energy economy we need. To make the economic transition as smooth as possible, the tax would start small and increase annually and predictably. At the same time, carbon fuel subsidies would be phased out. This would make energy prices predictable for individuals and businesses over time.

Making the carbon tax revenue-neutral would protect American families and businesses from higher energy prices. The essence of this concept is to tax carbon production and return 100 percent of the proceeds equally to all households. Because this idea is both equitable and market-driven, it is gaining support across the political spectrum.

A national carbon tax would be simple to administer. The tax would be charged at first point-of-sale, the mine, the wellhead, or border crossing, and would be collected by the IRS. The funds would be placed in a Carbon Tax Trust Fund and rebated to American families and businesses. All households would receive equal monthly dividends, and families would also receive a half-share per child under 18 years old, with a limit of two child-shares per family. It is estimated that 70 percent of families would see some net increase in income.

Some critics claim a carbon tax would kill jobs, drag down the economy, and burden families with higher energy bills. However, a well-designed carbon tax that recycles revenue back to households and into the economy would actually protect families from rising costs and add jobs. A recent study by Regional Economic Models Inc. found that a carbon tax in California, even at very high levels, would increase our prosperity and add hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Some critics say that a carbon tax would put American businesses at a disadvantage with foreign competitors. However, tariffs and rebates would ensure that U.S.-made goods would remain competitive in international markets. Carbon tax equivalent tariffs would be charged for goods entering the U.S. from countries without equivalent carbon pricing. Carbon tax rebates would reduce the price of exports to those same countries. These tariffs and rebates would provide an incentive for international adoption of carbon taxes.

Some skeptics say the carbon tax is an untested idea. However, five years ago, British Columbia implemented a revenue-neutral carbon tax. It gradually added to the cost of fossil fuels while cutting both personal and corporate income taxes. A recent study reports that B.C.’s “use of petroleum fuels has dropped by 15.1 percent.” The study also finds that B.C.’s “personal and corporate income tax rates are now the lowest in Canada, due to the carbon tax shift.”

Are we approaching a political tipping point regarding climate change policies? Currently the Environmental Protection Agency is under court order to issue climate change rules, and the carbon fuel industry is fearful of new EPA policies. We urgently need congressional action to break this stalemate and significantly improve our climate change policies and programs.

If Congress implements a revenue-neutral carbon tax, it will create a stronger economy and ensure a more livable climate for our children and grandchildren. Let’s do something BIG about climate change. Let’s encourage lawmakers in Congress to embrace this sensible solution. To learn more about the Citizens’ Climate Lobby campaign join us at the Unitarian Society Parish Hall on Thursday, May 8 from 7:30-9 p.m.

John D. Kelley is an award-winning architect who specializes in environmentally friendly home design. The Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a national volunteer organization, is leading the campaign for a revenue-neutral carbon tax. You can contact the Santa Barbara chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby at santabarbara@citizensclimatelobby.org.

Related Links

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Higher taxes and tariffs won't affect economic growth? Sure. In the mean time, China emits more CO2 into the atmosphere than any other country in the world, including the US.

The way to go about reducing global CO2 emissions is through international negotiation, not bludgeoning the US economy to prove a political point.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 6:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

International agreements have not worked. It is past time to lead buy example - Germany and Denmark have to the benefit of their economies and status.

We can start by rejecting Keystone XL and saying "no" to bitumen exports.

Edge (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 8:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Cutting supply without reducing demand will only cause prices to rise.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 9 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Germany can lead by cutting it's massive reliance on coal-power energy plants, despite all the ballyhoo re "clean coal". It isn't clean enough.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 9:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course oil prices will rise, that's the whole idea. So will the price of just about everything else that has to be transported to market. Not to mention services, unless you expect your plumber or electrician to take a Prius to work.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Science is 100% certain the planet is not flat and are 95% certain Human CO2 is "possibly" killing it? This climate blame blunder is pure Reefer Madness for history to laugh at.
Since science won't say; "proven" or "inevitable" or "100%", it doesn't allow you remaining "believers" to tell our children it WILL be a crisis. You can't speak for science or "believe" more than they.
Science has never "believed" beyond; "could be" and 95% so what's to "believe" in? That "could be" is sustainable in "belief" for another 32 years?
Big oil didn't lie and science didn't commit any hoax; it was you "believers" who exaggerated a consensus of nothing. Who's the neocon again?

mememine69 (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

We have overcome great hurdles in the past by coming together, however, the hurdle of the greedy, wealthy corporatists is high enough to instill fear and doubt among the populace. The market can make clean energy accessible just like it does right now for fossil fuels. Alas, someone is getting paid, raking it in, making a killing.

spacey (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 1:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You mean the oil companies have had the secret to cold fusion all along and just refused to share it to preserve their profit stream?

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 2:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's a total scam that's destroying science for political and economic goals.
this is an excerpt from the 1991 Club of Rome Report "The First Global Revolution": http://books.google.com/books?id=8RNK...

“This is the way we are setting the scene for mankind’s encounter with the planet. The opposition between the two ideologies that have dominated the 20th century has collapsed, forming their own vacuum and leaving nothing but crass materialism.

It would seem that humans need a common motivation, namely a common adversary, to organize and act together in the vacuum; such a motivation must be found to bring the divided nations together to face an outside enemy,

EITHER A REAL ONE OR ONE INVENTED FOR THE PURPOSE.

New enemies therefore have to be identified.
New strategies imagined, new weapons devised.

The common enemy of humanity is man.

In searching for a new enemy to unite us,

WE CAME UP WITH THE IDEA THAT POLLUTION, THE THREAT OF GLOBAL WARMING,WATER SHORTAGES, FAMINE AND THE LIKE WOULD FIT THE BILL.

All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.

Sacrilegious though this may sound, democracy is no longer well suited for the tasks ahead.”

As Al Gore said in the closing sentence of his statement after he won the Nobel Peace Prize ... "This is just the beginning."

Al Gore and Obama were founders of the Chicago Carbon Exchange, CCX. Gore founded Carbon Investment Management LLD. John Ivor, Indy article "God Goes Green" is general manager of LRQA Americas Sustainability and Chair of the ANSI Greenhouse Gas Verification Accreditation Committee, and has been employed by LRQA for 12 years.

Club of Rome certainly isn't uniquely responsible for AGW alarmism, but the text in its 1991 report provides part of the context of the AGW alarmist phenomena. Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger and Ted Turner are a few CoR members.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 5:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

CO2 has never been shown to cause global warming; There's a correlation between CO2 levels and warming, but causation has never been demonstrated. Nearly all natural systems have negative feedback mechanisms that maintain stability, including the earth's atmosphere, rather than the positive feedback claimed in IPCC reports with no support from experimental data.

Solar cycles are a much better fit for explaining earth's climate than atmospheric CO2 level.

We're reading only disinformation in the mainline media. Many of the most respected climate scientists who disagree with AGW alarmists have resigned from the IPCC. Reviews of IPCC reports by them have been rejected, invalidating the principle of scientific review. Their research publications are being rejected by journals, and they're not getting research grants.
UK Met Climate Resarch Unit, supposely independent receives funding from the UN, BP, Shell, the Sultan of Oman, and many environmental organizations. Environmental activists are greatly over-represented among IPCC scientists, and many openly supported AGW theory prior to their involvement with IPCC; it's not an unbiased group of researchers by design.

Skepticalscience cartoonist John Cook read 12,000 abstracts of climate research publications, threw out 11,933 that didn't support AGW, and called the 65/67 remaining a 97% consensus. The names of the > 31,000 physical scientists, 9,000 PhD's, who signed the Oregon Petition are scrolling on the website, and be confirmed.
John Hansen pulls climate facts out of thin air like Al Gore His supervisor has called him an embarrassment to NASA. 49 NASA scientists have posted letters disputing AGW. NASA, NOAA and GISS are altering past climate data.
Michael Manning's hockeystick graph was constructed by ignoring the majority of data - Google "The Yamal Deception".
AGW is apolitical/economic/corporate scam that benefits the 0.1 % at the expense of the poor and third world countries. There are many websites describing the destruction of their local environments, rural areas where indigenous people have lived in harmony with the earth for centuries. Corporations can often minimize expenses by purchasing carbon credits rather than using technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Monsanto RU-Resistant corn is the only legal strain in the EU now. It has lower drought resistance than natural strains, requires more pesticides (made by Monsanto et al), has lower nutritional value, and it's illegal to plant its seeds; farmers are required to buy seeds from Monsanto every season. Monsanto has collected $850 million in litigation against farmers for patent infringement, including 700 lawsuits against 3rd world subsistence farmers. Family farms are unsustainable according to UN Agenda 21.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 6 p.m. (Suggest removal)

These GOSAT satellite photo shows global CO2 emissions - highest in vegetated, sparsely populated areas.
https://earth.esa.int/image/image_gal...

This shows global distribution of methane emission.
http://smarteconomy.typepad.com/smart...

https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth...

High intensity HAARP radiation generates ELF and IR radiation, and can cause svere weather events and earthquakes, and chemicals sprayed as chemtrails also modify weather.
Video of patterns created by HAARP
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ujkak...

We need to protect the environment and minimize man's impact on it using rational means and our best science and technology, and we need a critical change from the current ethics of AGW alarmism to do that.
Reducing our use of fossil fuels and developing renewable energy sources are more intelligent goals than destroying our economy and social structure to prevent a fabricated AGW crisis.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 6 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't know if you can read and absorb a highly scientific article, but the first considerations that CO2 could trap heat happened in the 1890s. As with most scientific undertakings, there was a lot of back and forth whether it was true or not, and experiments were conducted to get to the truth.

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co...

One possible answer was a change in the composition of the Earth's atmosphere. Beginning with work by Joseph Fourier in the 1820s, scientists had understood that gases in the atmosphere might trap the heat received from the Sun. As Fourier put it, energy in the form of visible light from the Sun easily penetrates the atmosphere to reach the surface and heat it up, but heat cannot so easily escape back into space. For the air absorbs invisible heat rays (“infrared radiation”) rising from the surface. The warmed air radiates some of the energy back down to the surface, helping it stay warm. This was the effect that would later be called, by an inaccurate analogy, the "greenhouse effect." The equations and data available to 19th-century scientists were far too poor to allow an accurate calculation. Yet the physics was straightforward enough to show that a bare, airless rock at the Earth's distance from the Sun should be far colder than the Earth actually is.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 6:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There has to be a more interesting way to present this to the reading public. Flat, dull and dead, it doesn't engage or inspire whatsoever.

Horus_Zeitgeist (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 7:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is a more recent study on the link between CO2 and temperature, from algae studies.

http://summitcountyvoice.com/2011/12/...

tabatha (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 9:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Proving that China’s fight against pollution has moved decisively into the realm of parody, bags containing mountain air were shipped into one particularly smog-addled city over the weekend.

http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/20...

One day, humanity will only appreciate what they had, when they have it no more.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
April 2, 2014 at 9:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Excellent cutting and pasting, Tabatha, but it’s also important to understand content. You did a great job (April 2, 6:34 p.m.) of showing that CO2 didn’t cause the temperature change during the 20th century, since there’s not even a correlation between CO2 and temperature, a factor that’s essential to proving causation.The CO2 level will always increase when temperature increases because there's lots of it on land and in the ocean. It will decrease when temperature decreases, as the link in your 9:27 comment shows.
There's a graph of T v CO2 1880-2010 at these links:
http://www.plantsneedco2.org/default....
http://occupywallst.org/forum/for-tho...

14noscams (anonymous profile)
April 3, 2014 at 10:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This link has satellite photos from Japan's Ibuki satellite showing most CO2 is released in sparsely populated or unpopulated third world regions, northern Africa oil-producing regions, and the ocean, not developed, industrialized nations.

http://www.gosat.nies.go.jp/index_e.html

14noscams (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2014 at 8:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Read this in the context of Ibuki satellite photos in last post showing geographical origin of CO2.

Climate Bill to Cost Americans $1,600 Per Year, Leave America $9.4 Trillion Poorer
The new bill is estimated to cut farmers' profits by 57 percent by 2035

Michael Andrews - June 12, 2009 file:///C:/Users/new%20owner/Documents/DailyTech%20-%20Climate%20Bill%20to%20Cost%20Americans%20$1,600%20Per%20Year,%20Leave%20America%20$9.4%20Trillion%20Poorer.htm#sthash.8bQRuHYv.dpuf

14noscams (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2014 at 11:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Past IPCC models are not playing out at all, why do we still trust them?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2014 at 1:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This global warming talk always gives me a headache. Haven't the glaciers been shrinking since the last ice age-12,000 years ago? Haven't the ocean levels also been rising since that time?

sbkid (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2014 at 2:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, but there's never been 7 billion+ people on Earth before. Florida, Louisiana and Bangladesh (as well as all the coastal metropoli) go glug-glug first; where and how are we gonna relocate all these people?

Walter (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2014 at 4:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There's an old Sam Kinison routine (which of course is so profanity-laced that I can't post it) about famine. The gist of it is he tells people to "go where the food is".

Yes, overpopulation, that force which is driving us all crazy, yet those in the Western World don't want to offend cultural sensitivities by pointing out the consequences of its effects.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2014 at 6:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

...they only complain about it when their freeways get jammed and then their solultion is to tell everyone (able-bodied or not) to get out of their cars and bike everywhere.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 4, 2014 at 6:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: