One of the bright spots in the past few months has been the improved air quality in the Salt Lake Valley, but disturbing news dampens my enthusiasm.

According to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in May, 2020, the amount of CO2 in the air globally hit the highest monthly average value ever recorded at 417 parts per million, up from 414.7 in May of last year.

In fact, CO2 levels are the highest they’ve been in human history, and likely the highest in 3 million years, according to NOAA.

While the pandemic slowed emissions for a short period of time, this finding shows that our climate crisis is greater than ever, which will further jeopardize the health of all people.

Countries like South Korea, France and Italy are using this opportunity to take steps to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change. The U.S. can, too.

One simple act by our legislators – the passage of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763), a bipartisan climate solution – can reduce CO2 emissions an estimated 52% below 1990 levels in 20 years.

This revenue-neutral program puts a fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. It will drive down carbon pollution because energy companies, industries and consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options. The money collected from the fee is allocated monthly to the American people to spend as they see fit. And, as a way to protect U.S. jobs and industry, all imported goods will be assessed a border carbon adjustment.

This plan treats all of the American people equally and fairly, and will stimulate economic growth across America.

Let’s take this moment to commit to making the changes necessary to keep our Utah home, and our planet, a safe and healthy place to live.

Laura Dupuy, Salt Lake City