SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014
Response to John Christy on climate change
By George Laur
In his op-ed, “Why we argue about climate change,” John Christy refers to a single climate study (his own) to create doubt about the massive amount of research from the mainstream scientific community. Then he scares us into believing that fossil fuels provide the only path to a future wealthy enough to face climate change. No wonder he’s a darling of that industry.
Christy says what we do about climate change is a moral question but he frames it as a choice between a sustainable planet and financial wealth.
A moral answer shouldn’t include sentencing humanity to live out an experiment to prove how far we can push our atmosphere before we see catastrophic change. Especially when the other 97 percent of climate scientists tell us with near certainty that we’re already pushing the limit.
While a moral discussion should include willingness to sacrifice a little wealth today for a better tomorrow, we can solve our climate challenge without creating financial pain.
It’s entirely possible to live fine today and leave an environment where future generations can enjoy the diversity of life on the planet, benefit from productive agriculture, and have far more financial opportunities than Christy’s fossil-fuel solution provides.
The technology exists now to power the world with renewables. The effort needed will be on the scale of moon landings, but we did that. Protecting our home planet for humanity deserves an equal effort.
Renewables create more jobs per dollar invested than the fossil fuel industry. Add dramatically improved public health and more stable energy prices, and then let’s start talking quality of life now and for future generations. If fully developed, Missouri’s wind potential could provide nine times the state’s energy needs.
Missouri’s solar potential is 83 percent that of sunny Arizona. Missouri could be a net energy exporter, but instead we import 99 percent of our coal. To create jobs and build wealth, we need to recognize where we are energy rich.
The fastest way to show the world how to move to renewable energy is to build the solution into the very fabric of our capitalistic economy.
Put a price on carbon, then rebate the revenue generated back equally to all households. That money will flow back into the local communities, creating jobs and building wealth as we move to a low-carbon economy.
George Laur is the group leader for the Jefferson City, MO, chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby