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National fee on carbon emissions best way to fight climate change

The money could be returned to power utility consumers, spurring innovation and a transition to cleaner fuels.

Emissions pour from a coal-fired power plant, the Cheswick Generating Station in Springdale, Pa., on June 10, 2021.
AP Photos

A number of things that I never dreamed I would see in my lifetime all came to be in a single summer:

Dozens of people dying in the Pacific Northwest due to a record-breaking heat wave, with temperatures over 110 degrees. People trapped and drowned in their own basements and vehicles as New York and New Jersey were flooded with rain. Firefighters wrapping 2,000-year-old California sequoia trees in fire retardant foil blankets in a last-ditch effort to save the fabled giants from fast-encroaching wildfires. And my own son telling me he’s not sure if bringing grandchildren into the world right now is such a good idea.

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It’s the stuff of sleepless nights. But in the light of day, I calm down a little and realize that we still can do something to slow the climate change that is bringing on these extreme weather events. A simple and effective solution, a national carbon fee and dividend, is called for in a statement signed recently by more than 20 economists from around Illinois. A fee would be put on carbon emissions and the money would returned back to power utility consumers, spurring innovation and a transition to cleaner fuels. Economists have long supported carbon pricing as the simplest, most transparent and most effective single policy to draw down emissions.

Congress is debating what climate change measures should be written into the federal budget reconciliation bill. We, their constituents, should let them know we favor the most effective course of action — a price on carbon emissions. President Joe Biden, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and Sen. Dick Durbin know that each voice they hear from represents many other constituents who share those views.

Karen Campbell, Bolingbrook

No new taxpayer stadium for Bears

Eighteen years ago, Chicago went to bat for the Bears and renovated Soldier Field, compromising its status as a architecturally historic site. Now the Bears want a new stadium.

Is this quixotic venture worth it for Chicago, given the city’s other monetary problems?

No.

Most of those who attend Bears games come in from the suburbs. How much do they really contribute to the city’s coffers during those few hours on a game day? The Bears should build their own new stadium, if that’s what they want. And if they do so in Arlington Heights, they should drop the “Chicago” from the team’s name.

Warren Rodgers, Jr., Matteson

Drivers and bike riders should shape up

A Sun-Times reader, James FitzGerald of Edgewater, recently wrote in response to my letter about motorists dangerously using electronic devices that bike riders don’t always follow the rules of the road, either. I’d like to commend him on a very valid point. Both cyclists and motorists need to be held accountable.

John Livaich, Oak Lawn