I recently returned from a three-week work-related trip to Europe. It was encouraging to see steps being taken there to mitigate the effects of climate change.
National governments are passing fossil fuel cap-and-trade laws. In Germany, mile after mile of solar panel arrays flank freeways. In Amsterdam, bicycling is not just a sport. It’s also a free, healthful and environmentally friendly means of commuting to work. One of the days I was in Paris was car-free to celebrate the Paris Agreement of 2015. Only commercial vehicles were permitted within city limits, and the Champs-Élysées, usually clogged with traffic and redolent of noxious exhaust fumes, was transformed into a tranquil, congenial pedestrian mall.
In Europe the climate change debate is pragmatic, not political.
Here in the U.S. many individuals, corporations and local governments are taking positive steps to reduce our carbon footprint. However, the urgency expressed by the recent IPCC report makes it clear we need to do much more.
The federal government must pass a fee on carbon production, reflecting its true cost to society, and pass the revenue directly to consumers, as proposed by Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
When President Donald Trump takes a break from his campaign rallies and visits the devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael, whose destructive force was exacerbated by increasingly high ocean temperatures, I hope he will revise his views on climate change, because if we’re to learn anything from the recent, painful past, it’s that, unless we step up to the challenge, future Michaels are only going to get worse.
Gerald Elias, Salt Lake City