Opinion surveys from the Yale Climate Communications website (https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/factsheets/ ) indicate that the majority of Utahns believe climate change is happening (67%), it is caused by humans (51%) and it is affecting the weather (59%). Surprisingly though, most Utahns (63%) don’t think climate change is affecting them personally. And yet, in the 20 years I have lived here in Utah, the summers have become hotter and hotter.
June 2021 was the hottest on record for Utah and the country. An unprecedented heat wave across the West left hundreds of Americans dead. The megadrought has Utah farmers worrying about being able to water their crops. Some reservoirs are so low, cities such as Oakley and Henefer have stopped issuing building permits because they don’t want additional people drawing on the limited water supply. Along with the agricultural consequences, the hotter, drier summers result in our wildfire season starting earlier and lasting longer. While we have been fortunate that whole towns haven’t burned here in Utah, towns in California and Oregon haven’t been so lucky. How long will our luck last?
If we want our communities to be safe and healthy, we need to quickly reduce our use of fossil fuels that release heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. One effective solution is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA), which puts an increasing fee on carbon-based fuels at their sources and returns net revenues to all households as a monthly check. This incentivizes a transition to clean energy, thereby reducing our burning of polluting fossil fuels. At the same time, the dividend provides extra money to many families, resulting in an increase in spending that would stimulate the economy and create good paying jobs.
Please ask your representative to support this important legislation.
Let’s not depend on luck!
Brandi Williams, Holladay