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It is tempting to despair over the unfolding climate disasters that we are witnessing in California. This morning, for the fourth time this fall, smoke is hovering in the air in Santa Monica and, for the first time in my memory, the northern parts of Santa Monica are highlighted in the wildfire advisory area maps. These fires follow the 2017 Thomas fire, at the time the largest fire on record in California history (it was surpassed by the Mendocino fire this past summer) and the 2018 Woolsey fire, which blanketed us with smoke and burned our neighbors’ homes in Malibu.

Our schools closed due to smoke and fire in 2016, 17, 18 and now this week. Approximately 100 students left the school district after the Woolsey fire, in which 9 teachers lost their homes. It is becoming an annual ritual: we are advised to stay indoors, close our windows, stop exercising and prepare for rolling blackouts and possible evacuations.

Climate change has arrived and it’s only going to get worse.

What can we do? Our state and city are leaders in reducing carbon emissions with policies encouraging solar energy adoption, multi-modal transit, energy efficiency in building codes, electric charging stations, and wind and solar farms. California has a cap and trade program, and Santa Monica joined the Clean Power Alliance. These are important and laudable measures, but they aren’t enough to prevent future disasters which are projected to be much worse than the current ones we are facing. We need national policies that address greenhouse gas reduction.

It may come as a surprise, but despite the partisan conflict, there is some good news in Congress on bipartisan climate action. There are currently more than 38 bipartisan climate related bills in the House and Senate. One of these, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763), already has 68 co-sponsors. It’s projected to reduce US carbon emissions by 40% after 12 years and 90% by 2050.

HR 763 puts a price on carbon at its source, provides a dividend to American households to help them manage the costs of shifting from carbon to renewable and more efficient energy sources, and includes a border adjustment to help American businesses stay competitive. The dividends are progressive, helping low and middle- income people who use less carbon than the wealthy. And the price on carbon will incentivize innovation, and drastically decrease diseases due to air pollution.

HR 763 has the support of local Congresspersons Ted Lieu, Karen Bass, Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Katie Porter, Harley Rouda and many others. Endorsers include the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, the Santa Monica Democratic Club, James Hansen (the former Director of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies), George Schulz, Don Cheadle (!) and many, many others.

There is no silver bullet. There is no one policy that will do all that we need to do to shift to a low/zero carbon future, but HR 763 is an important first step supported by both liberals and conservatives, environmentalists and economists, as well as by faith and business leaders. Passage of HR 763 can help us take one big step toward a zero carbon future. This week reminds us how critical it is that we act and act now.

Gerda Newbold

Citizens Climate Lobby

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1 Comment

  1. The world-famous philosopher of science, Karl Popper, insisted that to be a valid scientific theory any hypothesis must be falsifiable. This includes the widely held conjecture of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. In short, a single set of scholarly findings that is not explained by the premise of man-made global warming which is attributable to the burning of fossil fuels can falsify this entire body of scientific speculation and this has recently occurred. Last summer the third of three peer-reviewed scientific papers that were conducted by three separate groups of expert investigators from three different universities and which have been published in eminent peer-reviewed scholarly journals have found no evidence to support the assertion regarding human-induced climate change. Instead, all three groups independently found that the warming that has happened was almost entirely attributable to galactic cosmic rays that affect the quantity of the Earth’s low hanging clouds. These expert investigators call this canopy or blanket the “umbrella effect”. The bottom line is that the entire climate change hysteria has now been falsified and is untrue. These three experimental results have conclusively shown that the IPCC and its computer simulation models (GCMs) are not va

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