In the landmark 2009 climate report, “The Copenhagen Diagnosis,” 26 leading worldwide scientists estimated that we must start rapidly decreasing global greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2015 to 2020.
By 2050, emissions per capita must be reduced from 17.3 metric tons to well less than 0.5 metric tons. That gives us 3 to 8 years to start rapidly reducing emissions and about 30 to 35 years to transform our energy systems to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 97 percent. And that doesn’t account for the effects of methane, another powerful greenhouse gas escaping from below melted ice. Sound like a challenge?
How do we cut greenhouse gas emissions fast enough? To facilitate a rapid shift to non-fossil fuels, there is growing support for a fee on carbon emissions with a rebate or dividend back to taxpayers. It’s time for a real debate about possible solutions.
Would the candidates support a fee and dividend for carbon emissions? What additional or alternative policies do they have in mind? Could you help us, as citizens, to contact news organizations and reporters and insist that they start asking these questions? A durable, livable future for us, our children and our grandchildren is in the balance.
Kathy Rand, Ph.D., and Mary Francis are residents of Norman and members of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby — Oklahoma.