Finishing the Climate Fight – For our Environment, For Our Economy

By JP Leous

Now that the oil gusher in the Gulf is capped, should we let BP walk away from the mess and let the communities devastated by the spill fend for themselves? Obviously not.

There’s another spill that’s been spewing pollution into our skies for far longer than the tragedy in the Gulf, and the Senate might let them off the hook when they take up an important vote next week.

For decades corporate polluters, like BP, have dumped billions of tons of carbon pollution into our skies for free—and we are just now beginning to feel the impacts. With the Senate poised to take up a clean energy and climate bill, most of the focus remains on how to best cap the greenhouse gas gusher. But addressing climate change means dealing not just with the causes but also effects of carbon pollution. Yes, a strong cap and incentives to ramp up clean energy are absolutely critical to ratcheting down and eventually stopping the carbon spill.

However, the science is clear: climate change is already affecting our natural resources and dependent communities—and will continue to do so for decades, even if we cap the carbon gusher today. Due to the effects of this pollution, experts estimate billions of dollars must be invested in our wildlands if they are to remain resilient in a warming world. So the question is: who should pay to clean up after the polluters and deal with their mess?  

The answer: the polluters should have to clean up after their carbon mess!

So how can the Senate make sure this logical idea makes its way into climate policy?  Force the polluters to buy permits to operate within pollution limits that do not threaten the public health, and redirect a portion of those pollution payments to restoring and safeguarding our wildlands and wildlife.

All of this creates new jobs as well. It’s been estimated that restoration projects, like removing unwanted old logging roads in our forests or removing invasive species, create more jobs per dollar invested than most other economic sectors. So making polluters pay to clean up their mess can have far reaching economic benefits for communities across the country. Not only would these projects help communities buffer against climate impacts, they would also protect and create restoration jobs… and they’d help protect the $730 billion active outdoor recreation industry. It’s a win-win-win for our families, environment and businesses.

But will the Senate listen, or will it let the carbon polluters off the hook and stick the rest of us with the carbon cleanup tab?

See what experts have to say about the economic importance of investing in natural resource adaptation projects (click for video).

 

 

 

 

USDA

65 comments

W. C
W. C29 days ago

Thank you.

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William C
William C29 days ago

Thanks.

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LMj Sunshine
James Merit4 years ago

Thank you.

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LMj Sunshine
James Merit4 years ago

Thank you.

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LMj Sunshine
James Merit4 years ago

Thank you.

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LMj Sunshine
James Merit4 years ago

Thank you.

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Philippa P.
Philippa P7 years ago

Thanks.

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Ann Eastman
Ann Eastman7 years ago

I hope our elected officials are able to wrap their heads around the idea of proactive strategies in addressing global warming, as purely reactive and retroactive strategies will not be sufficient. To extend your analogy, determining a fine for your reckless driver, after the vehicle catapulted over the cliff, is not going to make the abrupt deceleration at the cliff bottom any more comfortable- or survivable.

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Julie F.
Julie F7 years ago

thanks

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Mary Coleman
Mary Coleman7 years ago

Climate change is going to effect everyone, and these companies don't have that stretch of rights! If we keep putting up with it then they win, and then we ALL lose, including them. While there is a certain amount of glee in the idea of them suffering with the rest of us in the end, but that isn't the answer either. I'd like to have a future where I'm not afraid of my daughter not being able to grow up and have children of her own. I'm tired of corporate interest bullying the little guy into breathing their cancer causting air. I'm tired of wondering whether we're sentencing the plants and animals of the world to our own dim future as well. Its time to do something drastic, because climate change isn't exactly going to be a "minor".

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