Paris climate talks could set stage for real solutions

By Guest Columnist JEFF JOSLIN, an airline captain who chairs the North Atlanta Citizens’ Climate Lobby

As the Paris climate talks begin this week (known as the “Conference of Parties” or COP 21) I am inspired and hopeful remembering the open hearted responses to the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month. While terrorists’ bullets flew, Parisians were throwing open their doors and windows to the scared and wounded. The next day, the grief-stricken French comforted one another at memorials and services that sprang up around the City of Light.

Jeff Joslin

Jeff Joslin

The beauty of humanity is that we naturally respond to tragedy and life threatening danger with courage, love and disregard for ethnicity or political persuasion. It is in our DNA and practiced widely in our faith and civic practices. My hope is that the COP21 Negotiators and the 7 billion people they represent can open their hearts and minds in this same spirit as humanity strives for a collaborative agreement on climate change.

The world knows that 97 percent of climate scientists are convinced, based upon the evidence, that human-caused global warming is happening. We are swiftly approaching a tipping point that will push temperatures beyond a point that will unleash devastating ocean flooding, worsening storms and agricultural changes that threaten the stability of civilian populations. Locally, climatologists at the University of Georgia have identified coastal Georgia and metro Atlanta as vulnerable to adverse climate change impacts.

Scientists, military leaders and economists are largely in agreement over the danger to world stability. At present levels our emissions are more than double scientifically determined, safe levels. What’s lacking is a world-wide agreement that embodies that spirit we witness in the Parisians, the sincerity that cuts through differences and allows us to set political differences aside in a spirit of unselfish collaboration.

climate change, iceberg melts

An iceberg collapses under the Greenlandic sun in July, the hottest month in recorded history. The resulting explosion of water and ice marks a milestone in the discussion about climate change. Credit: Eric Lew

There are many reasons to be hopeful. The 5 largest emitters of greenhouse gases (China, United States, European Union, India and Russia) have all submitted plans to make drastic reductions in greenhouse gases. Renewable energy costs have declined dramatically and are becoming cost-competitive with polluting fossil fuel energy. Markets are responding to this crisis with cleaner and more sustainable manufacturing processes, better batteries, and other technological innovations that will continue to multiply as they become cost competitive.

The United States, the second largest emitter of climate-warming gases, can be a global leader on climate action. Despite making notable strides, our politicians are not sufficiently leading this process. The opportunity for bi-partisan efforts to put a price on the carbon emissions is greatly needed and would be a game changer solution both here and abroad.

There is a conservatively styled approach that holds great promise. This plan is called Carbon Fee and Dividend. It is sometimes referred to as the “Shultz Insurance Policy”, named after Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State who proposed an “insurance plan,” to address destruction of the ozone layer. Reagan agreed that insurance to back scientific findings was good policy.

Thurnderhead

Some scientists predict climate change will increase the frequency and severity of storms and flooding. Credit: Special, from Jeff Joslin

By putting a steadily rising price on carbon pollutants and returning the fees monthly to Americans we can drastically reduce emissions while growing a sustainable economy that safely supports future generations. Border incentives built into the plan will protect American businesses and jobs while providing strong encouragement and leadership for other countries to employ this ground breaking strategy. Non-partisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby supports this plan as it is one of the swiftest ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while growing jobs and the economy.

Climate change is real, it’s here and we can do something about it. Our descendants will look back on how we confront this challenge as the turning point in humanity’s evolution to a global view, one that values all lives and reaches for higher goals that truly benefit all of human kind. Let’s throw open our doors and windows, look at one another with love and say, “let’s work together on this – for the good of all.”

21 replies
  1. Jfreed27 says:

    Yes, a “carbon fee and dividend”  makes enormous sense!
    This way citizens would RECEIVE the carbon 
fees as a monthly dividend.  That would cancel out any price spikes in dirty energy.
    Polluters PAY the fees, so it holds fossil fuel corporations responsible for the damages they cause, hundreds of billions of dollars per year (Harvard School of Medicine).  
    It would rapidly lower emissions, as happened in BC Canada with a similar policy. BC lowered both emissions and taxes with their fees.
     A study by respected Regional Economic Modeling, Inc. found the dividends would help to create 2.9 million additional jobs in 20 years.
    To those who reject the science: perhaps nothing will change
 your mind. But what have you got against cleaner air, less asthma in our kids, fewer heart attacks, and more money (the dividend) in your pockets?
    To those accepting the science: Any effort  to
 limit the problem of climate change is worth it.
    For example:  the cost of sea level rise ALONE is so great that no effort to prevent it is unwarranted.  
    Why even bother with the paid deniers who thrive creating the 
delay of a false debate? IMO we must take action by supporting responsible adults, of either party, for Congress.Report

    Reply
  2. Paul Griffin says:

    I to am optimistic…in spite of the Republicans continued intransigence on this issue. Hoping for a productive and successful week in Paris, for the benefit of mankind!Report

    Reply
  3. poulie says:

    This guy and everyone who believes this BS are out of your
    minds.”The world knows that 97
    percent of climate scientists are convinced based upon the evidence, that
    human-caused global warming is happening.”This is the basic lie you people use to scare Americans into believing
    this hoax.Funny how the temps are not
    warming.Funny how the ice at the Poles
    is growing.However, this is reality
    that does not fit the narrative.This is
    why you all had to change the narrative from global warming to climate
    change.This guy also fails to mention
    how all of the scare talk – “We are swiftly approaching a tipping point
    that will push temperatures beyond a point that will unleash devastating ocean
    flooding, worsening storms and agricultural changes that threaten the stability
    of civilian populations.”We have
    heard this for decades.How long is
    “swiftly”?A week?A year?2 years?They may tell you 50
    -150 years because we all know none of us will be around then to find out!The 97% of “climate scientists” also use models.Models that are imputed with data that is
    based on the outcome they want.And
    then, of course, we have this – “Locally, climatologists at the University
    of Georgia have identified coastal Georgia and metro Atlanta as vulnerable to
    adverse climate change impacts.”Of
    course you do.They work off grants and
    without “evidence” they lose their funding.You all are so predictable.Recently Coca Cola paid “scientists millions
    to say that soft drinks do not make people fat.Point is that you can get any result you want and now that global
    warming/climate change is such a political hotbed and money making “religion”
    you can get all of the negative or positive results you want.
    I also find it amusing how China and Russia are joining this
    joke conference and -“have all submitted plans to make drastic reductions
    in greenhouse gases.”Right.If you believe that one you will believe that
    the planet is warming.Oh sorry you
    do! Their plans are to do nothing and of course,
    as predicted, it is – “The United States, the second largest emitter of
    climate-warming gases, can be a global leader on climate action”who is the real bad giuy.You can’t have an article on global warming
    without bashing the USA which is the only country to buy into this BS hook line
    and sinker.We all know the truth of the
    movement.Bring down #1.The USA.Period.Funny how this “movement” basically started
    to gain momentum right after the collapse of the USSR.Hummm.
    Please do what you want.Drive your electric cars that use coal to produce electricity and those
    horrible light bulbs that cost a fortune, and are worse for the environment
    then the old bulbs.Do all you want but
    please stop the communistic ways of forcing people to be like you.
    Funny how we also never receive an opposing view on glob
    warming on the Sparta Report.We can’t
    have that!!Report

    Reply
  4. bcngator63 says:

    The only problem I see is that we don’t really know what the solution is.  While reducing carbon emissions sounds good, what will the effects be?  Show me the calculations.  What will be the effect of planting more trees and how does that affect the calculations in in the previous question?  15,000 years ago, there were glaciers in Ohio, what caused them to advance and recede?  Long ago Florida was underwater except for a ridge down the center if the state, what caused those waters to rise and recede?Report

    Reply
  5. Jfreed27 says:

    It is is revenue neutral, a “carbon fee and dividend”  makes enormous sense! Economists and scientists say it is the best solution.
    This way citizens would RECEIVE the carbon 
fees as a monthly dividend.  That would cancel out any price spikes in dirty energy.
    Polluters PAY the fees, so it holds fossil fuel corporations responsible for the damages they cause, hundreds of billions of dollars per year (Harvard School of Medicine).  
    It would rapidly lower emissions, as happened in BC Canada with a similar policy. BC lowered both emissions and taxes with their fees.
     A study by respected Regional Economic Modeling, Inc. found the dividends would help to create 2.9 million additional jobs in 20 years, while reducing emissions much faster than regulations.
    To those who reject the science: perhaps nothing will change
 your mind. But what have you got against cleaner air, less asthma in our kids, fewer heart attacks, and more money (the dividend) in your pockets?
    To those accepting the science: Any effort  to
 limit the problem of climate change is worth it.
    For example:  the cost of sea level rise ALONE is so great that no effort to prevent it is unwarranted.  
    Why even bother with the paid deniers who thrive creating the 
delay of a false debate? IMO we must take action by supporting responsible adults, of either party, for Congress.Report

    Reply
  6. Jfreed27 says:

    It is is revenue neutral, a “carbon fee and dividend”  makes enormous
    sense! Economists and scientists say it is the best solution.
    This
    way citizens would RECEIVE the carbon 
fees as a monthly dividend. 
    That would cancel out any price spikes in dirty energy.
    Polluters
    PAY the fees, so it holds fossil fuel corporations responsible for the
    damages they cause, hundreds of billions of dollars per year (Harvard
    School of Medicine).  
    It would rapidly lower emissions, as
    happened in BC Canada with a similar policy. BC lowered both emissions
    and taxes with their fees.
     A study by respected Regional
    Economic Modeling, Inc. found the dividends would help to create 2.9
    million additional jobs in 20 years, while reducing emissions much
    faster than regulations.
    To those who reject the science: perhaps
    nothing will change
 your mind. But what have you got against cleaner
    air, less asthma in our kids, fewer heart attacks, and more money (the
    dividend) in your pockets?
    To those accepting the science: Any effort  to
 limit the problem of climate change is worth it.
    For example:  the cost of sea level rise ALONE is so great that no effort to prevent it is unwarranted.  
    Why
    even bother with the paid deniers who thrive creating the 
delay of a
    false debate? IMO we must take action by supporting responsible adults,
    of either party, for Congress.Report

    Reply
  7. bcngator63 says:

    But where are your calculations that prove that the main cause of global warming is carbon emissions?  The glaciers did not leave Ohio 15,000 years ago because of too many coal fired power plants.Report

    Reply
  8. poulie says:

    I do not agree with the premise so this is moot. What is relevant is the movement to force and tax every one for something that most people do not agree with . Again do what you want. Drive a bike everywhere you want and never shower. Fine but you cannot force or use the government to force people to live the same lifestyle.
    Finall, the notion of one person polluting more than another is ludicrous and another way of attempting to fool and divide the public. If all this is true then it will play out on its own. People would/will began to see what happens and, as we have and are doing, adjust on their own. The market also will make costs decrease. For now it is just early.. No need spreading misinformation .Report

    Reply
  9. bcngator63 says:

    I agree with you to the extent that I firmly believe that Washington couldn’t care less about global warming or climate control.  They have seized upon this issue as a vehicle to collect more taxes and to further intrude into our lives.Report

    Reply
  10. Jfreed27 says:

    Yours is the usual cynical dismissal of government that has been dished out since Reagan. This kind of paranoia is lazy.
     Obama has done a great deal to limit emissions: Clean Power Plan, CAFE standards for cars and trucks, Dept. of Defense switch to renewables, efficiency requirements for contractors and buildings, etc.

    These are fees, not taxes, as the government doesn’t keep any of it; it is rebated to all households.  The Dept. of Treasury would be in charge, as it has responsibly sent refund checks and can be trusted.  Of course, one can scoff.  It contributes nothing.Report

    Reply
  11. poulie says:

    Haha. There will be no rebates. Please!
    If anyone believes anything these people say then you are done.
    Remember? ISIS JV and contained.
    Your health insurance premium will be $2500 lower
    The economy is booming
    The earth is warming, cooling and that we are causing it.
    Please everyone do what ever you want and drive any car or bike you want but think for a change.Report

    Reply
  12. Jfreed27 says:

    bcngator63 Jfreed27 Good question.  The rebate in BC, Canada is in lowering taxes; very popular.  The rebate in Alberta is to stimulate renewables.
     In the U.S. former Sec. of State under Reagan, George Shultz recommends that all pollution fees be returned to citizens as a monthly check.  The U.S. Dept. of Treasury could do this electronically with a very small cost to its budget.  After some years, according to a study by REMI, the monthly rebate would be $400
    per month per family, which for most citizens would be greater than the spikes in fuel prices.Report

    Reply
  13. poulie says:

    Please remember that I, as most, don’t believe in the premise. However, I like the way that regarding some fantasy (hopefully) idea you cabn come up with a $400 per month rebate. A check that is supposed to magically appear from the government. 1) the costs of all of this additional environmental stuff already is costing us $400 per month. Adding more and more and more will cost likely thousands more dollars if your team gets your way ; 2) when will it stop? Answer: Never. Your encouragement people have had your way for 20+ years and nothing has happened to make you all happy. At least you could alter the lie and say “The fact that no nocitable warming has occurred since we took over…..”. What we get is “We need to do more and more “.
    Again why can you guys do all you want and stop forcing BS science down our throats.Report

    Reply
  14. bcngator63 says:

    It sounds to me as if your power bill goes up $1,000 per month. you get a $400 rebate.  If my power bill goes up $10 per month, I get a $400 rebate.  Is that correct?Report

    Reply
  15. DW33 says:

    The world knows that 97 percent of climate scientists are convinced,….this has been refuted many times.  Look at articles in Forbes, WSJ etc…I remember in the 70’s when all of the experts were calling for a global ice ageReport

    Reply
  16. bcngator63 says:

    This is simply a grand plan for income redistribution and vote buying.  If they were really serious about climate, they would take the money and spend it on research.Report

    Reply

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