I have childhood memories of large family dinners where we kids were seated at the “kids’ table,” away from the adults and their grown-up conversations.

Earlier this year, the U.S. joined Syria and Nicaragua at the Paris Climate Accord’s kids’ table, no longer privy to the important conversations the rest of the world was having on climate change. As the Paris Accord approached its two-year anniversary on Dec. 12, both Syria and Nicaragua have joined the grown-ups’ table, leaving the U.S. dining alone.

A changing climate is the most critical issue we face as a global community. This is no time for our leadership to opt out of the adults’ conversation. Were we present, we could suggest solutions such as a gradually increasing fee on carbon at its source. This free-market solution would reduce carbon emissions, stimulate jobs and the economy, and begin to clean up dangerous air.

In the U.S. the nonpartisan Citizens Climate lobby already has a well-developed proposal that achieves this. But to present it globally, we need to join the adults at their table. Remaining at the kids’ table is beneath our dignity.

Mark Molen, Salt Lake City