We are in a climate crisis, not simply experiencing climate change

Everyone should be pushing their members of Congress to pass bipartisan climate legislation in 2023.

SHARE We are in a climate crisis, not simply experiencing climate change
Demonstrators pretend to resuscitate the Earth while advocating for the 1.5 degree warming goal to survive at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Nov. 16, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged world leaders to take “credible” new action to curb climate change, warning that efforts so far fall short of what’s needed to avert catastrophe.

Demonstrators pretend to resuscitate the Earth while advocating for the 1.5 degree warming goal to survive at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Nov. 16, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged world leaders to take “credible” new action to curb climate change, warning that efforts so far fall short of what’s needed to avert catastrophe.

Peter Dejong, AP Photos

Buffalo and western New York clearly just suffered through one of the worst and deadliest snowstorms in memory. Severe and almost unheard of events are now apparent everywhere you look.

In just the last year we have seen droughts scattered throughout the U.S., major wildfires, record heat in Europe, unusually strong storms and tornados in December, disastrous flooding in our heartland, a hurricane that seemed to last forever, and severe loss of life and trillions in damage from floods in Pakistan.

We can’t keep saying that we are experiencing 100-year events, because you can be sure they will recur again in far less than 100 years. We need language and action that matches the urgency of our situation: We are in a climate crisis, not simply experiencing climate change.

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The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the partisan Inflation Reduction Act have jump-started our transition to a future less dependent on fossil fuels. These actions could get us part way to President Joe Biden’s goal of a 50% reduction of 2005 level greenhouse emissions by 2030.

Current legislation is attempting to address the crisis with financial incentives, often described as “carrots.” To really get serious, we also need “sticks” that raise the costs of all products and activities that are heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

A slowly rising price on carbon emissions with revenue returned to Americans can provide the “stick” in a manner that doesn’t harm the economy or hurt consumers, including those with lesser incomes. Virtually all economists agree on this approach, Canada is already using it, and new Climate Leadership Council and Americans for Carbon Dividends polling shows Republican voters want to see meaningful solutions as well.

Let your members of Congress know that you want to see bipartisan climate action in 2023.

Thomas Rausch, Glen Ellyn

President gets the blame, not gratitude

Those who were quick to criticize the president need to take a look at recent events. Over the summer, the president was blamed for high gas prices, empty store shelves and lack of new cars to buy. I have noticed that I am paying way less at the pump. Not a single item that I bought my grandkids for Hanukkah was sold out, and the price of strawberries has gone down.

Does anyone take time to thank the president for these things that only recently happened? I doubt it. He has passed the biggest infrastructure bill since highways were built in the 1950s. He has expanded health care to those in need. He has invested in green energy solutions to save this planet. He is giving aid to the Ukraine to fight the Russians to keep their nation free.

Why is no one giving him the credit he deserves? Thank you, and Happy New Year, Mr. President!

Jan Goldberg, Riverside

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