Nero fiddled while Rome burned, or so goes the legend.

Our elected officials remind me of Nero. They may not fiddle, but they are oblivious to global catastrophes. And they literally want to put “oil on the fire.” On July 30, The Tribune announced renewed oil and gas leasing in Utah; coal is also being revived. Why don’t our elected officials care that burning fossil fuels will increase our climate dangers?

Fossil fuels have sequestered carbon for millions of years. In the 1800s, we began excavating and burning them to power the Industrial Revolution. It is a great achievement, but one with costs. CO2 that cannot be absorbed back into the earth accumulates in the atmosphere and traps heat. With more heat, the weather becomes more violent.

It’s time for solutions. A carbon tax, returned to citizens as a dividend, would encourage innovations to reduce fossil fuel use, yet the U.S. House just passed a resolution calling a carbon tax bad for the economy. How about tornadoes, fires and floods — are they not bad for the economy?

Mia Love was Utah’s only representative with the courage to vote “no” on this resolution. Reps. John Curtis, Chris Stewart and Rob Bishop; Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, the choice is yours: Nero or hero?

Françoise Hibbs, Holladay