Helping wildlife with a carbon price
By Pam Shaouy
The images from 2017’s intense hurricane season are unforgettable, and what they show is devastating: Loss of life. Destruction of property. Many of us were deeply moved as we watched heroes rescue not only people and pets, but also injured and displaced wildlife. During Hurricane Harvey in Texas, a colony of bats living under a bridge was saved from rapidly rising water. During Hurricane Irma in Florida, a baby and adult dolphin that washed ashore were returned to sea and able to swim away. And in many areas, baby squirrels were blown out of their nests and placed in the care of wildlife rehabilitators.
Several heartwarming wildlife rescues “went viral” during the catastrophic hurricanes. But every day, away from cameras, wildlife silently struggle to adapt to the pervasive and escalating effects of climate change. From the loss of habitat and food sources to the introduction of invasive species and disease and much more, climate change is an extreme threat to wildlife.
Carbon pricing: A piece of the climate solution puzzle
Fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal contain carbon. When these fuels are burned, they release carbon dioxide, which traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. We, the public, are already paying for the damaging effects of that carbon pollution. For example, unhealthy air increases respiratory and cardiovascular disease and drives up medical costs. Droughts cause crop losses. Rising seas and coastal flooding cause property damage. If we want to slow or even reverse climate change, we have to reduce those emissions in our atmosphere.
One solution to climate change, which has support on both sides of the political aisle, is carbon pricing.