As a volunteer with the Boca Raton chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, I have been meeting with local politicians to gather support for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
Designed to put a price on carbon emissions, the legislation is now in the U.S. House of Representatives and soon will be introduced in the Senate.
My entire career has been spent in sales — and never have I met with such a receptive audience.
Everyone so far has been eager to sign on, either by supporting the bill personally or by introducing a resolution to their county or city commissions. We’ve had resolutions passed by the Boca Raton and Coconut Creek city councils and by the Palm Beach County Commission.
While we’ve thanked them, they’ve also thanked us for bringing the legislation to their attention. It is apparent that South Floridians, both leaders and regular citizens, recognize the damage our warming atmosphere is causing. Many seemed surprised that there is a group focused on this one solution and were grateful for the opportunity to help.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is an international, non-profit, grassroots organization that is non-partisan. While we recognize that there are many ways to address climatechange, we are focused on passage of a federal law that puts a fee on fossil-fuel emissions and returns the money collected to the country’s taxpayers. Without such action, our planet will be a far more difficult place to live by the end of this century.
Parts will disappear underwater. Other areas will become inhospitable desert. Flooding and drought will destroy farmland. The oceans will be more acidic, coral reefs will die and marine species will disappear. The consequences go on and on.
This revenue-neutral solution allows individuals to decide how to spend the dividends they collect from the carbon fee. They can either pay more for greenhouse gas-emitting sources of energy, or they can switch to alternatives that do little or no harm to the environment, such as solar or wind energy.
In South Florida, the rising sea has been obvious for many years. Our beaches are disappearing, coral reefs are dying and the weather is more extreme.
Across the globe, we see evidence of severe storms, droughts, floods, fires – all contributing to property damage, loss of agricultural resources and economic strain. Already, “climate refugees” are fleeing their homes and many millions more are predicted to follow during the coming decades. The social costs will be staggering.
Dealing with this impending disaster will take effort on many fronts. However, if we don’t slow the heating of the atmosphere very soon, none of the other steps will matter. It is too late to stop the melting of the icecaps and the warming of the atmosphere. But it is within our power to slow it down and keep the damage to our planet to a minimum.
Susan Kaye is a volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby and a marketing professional.
“The Invading Sea” is a collaboration of four South Florida media organizations — the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post and WLRN Public Media.