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Calls on residents to show support for HR 763

Vox Pop

The hurricane season is again upon us. Laura has hit the Gulf Coast with life threatening winds, ocean surges and rain, creating millions of dollars of damage. To me it seems like violent hurricanes and storms are more frequent than in the past. Scientists say rapid intensification (turning typical hurricanes into severe ones) used to be rare but in recent years, more common. They have verified that since 1990, the frequency of Category 4 or 5 hurricanes has doubled in the Atlantic Ocean. What is the cause for such activity? We have a warmer planet. Hurricanes draw energy from the ocean water and warmer water provides more energy. Warmer air can also carry more water, increasing rainfall and flooding. Similar logic holds for tornadoes and what was recently identified in Iowa as a Derecho storm. Fact: Storms will be more severe with a warmer planet.

The bad part of this trend toward greater storm severity is that we haven’t done much to stop the earth from warming; in fact, it is warming at a faster rate than even 10 years ago. If not unchecked, global warming will continue to produce more and more of these severe storms, sadly causing more loss of life and destruction of property. Many say some inhabited areas of this world will become unlivable.

Scientists have proven that the cause of global warming is increased amounts of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. These pollutants capture the heat and prevent it from radiating out into space. The major contributor of these pollutants is our use of fossil fuels. Unfortunately we can all take the blame for this, as we drive cars, heat our homes and use electricity. Positive solutions have been developed with the use of solar, wind and thermal energy.

However we need to make the change-over into less polluting energy more rapid. Congress is aware of the problem and has introduced a bill in the House called The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, HR 763. It is bipartisan and currently co-sponsored by 81 House members. It would put a fee at the source of the fossil fuel pollutant producer. That fee will increase costs to consumers, but the good news is that the government will return those fees to Americans in the form of a dividend on an equal basis. It is estimated that low and middle income folks will actually benefit, creating an economic stimulus. Less polluting energy alternatives will become more desirable and innovation within this group will flourish, reducing costs even further and reducing climate change pollution.

HR 763 needs your help. Call your representatives in Congress and tell them that climate change is a major issue for you. Ask them to consider sponsorship of this bill.

Representative Tom Tiffany, 202-225-3365, Senator Ron Johnson, 202-224-5323, Senator Tammy Baldwin, 202-224-5653 Do it for your children and grandchildren. They deserve a livable planet.

— Michael Pesko, Rice Lake