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Linda Butler: Wants lawmakers to put price on carbon

  • mactrunk


Sunday, March 25, 2018
Wants lawmakers to put price on carbon

Thank you for the excellent Environment section in the March 14 Gazette, particularly the article “Federal court will hold first-ever hearing on climate change science,” about the suit the cities of San Francisco and Oakland are bringing against several major oil companies.

I was pleased to learn that the federal judge in the case wants plaintiffs and defendants to present a five-hour tutorial on climate change. People might think the central question in that tutorial would be, “Is climate change for real?”

But that’s not it. As the writer notes, “The oil industry has mostly accepted scientific findings that increasing carbon emissions are warming the atmosphere.” Rather, the question in this trial will be: What did the oil companies know when, and what did they do in response?

The answer may well be that, like Big Tobacco, they did all they could to dupe the public about the dangers posed by their products, and they spent all they could to keep Congress from doing the right thing. They guarded their profits at the expense of the health and safety of everyone on the planet.

While that case unfolds, the rest of us need to focus on the future. What can we do now to combat climate change? How can we ensure a livable world for our children and theirs?

We can follow the lead of the kids who walked out of Northampton High School March 14 and contact our elected representatives. Call, email or write a letter. Tell them you want them to put a price on carbon. It’s the essential first step.

As noted in another article, “Whitehouse preps 200th climate speech, hoping Senate will stir,” even the major oil companies have recognized the need for this. They’ve backed the Paris Agreement, and they’ve endorsed taxing carbon pollution.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse may not be able to stir the Senate, but citizens can, if enough of us raise our voices. We can move the Senate, the House and the Massachusetts Legislature if we demand that they put a price on carbon. Please do your part. Contact your representatives.

Let’s get this done.

Linda Butler

Leeds