Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Debate on Climate Change Legislation – Join the Conversation

A New York Times article posted yesterday discusses the climate change legislation slated for debate in the Senate this week. The goals of this bill are as follows:

(1) to establish the core of a Federal program that will reduce United States greenhouse gas emissions substantially enough between 2007 and 2050 to avert the catastrophic impacts of global climate change; and

(2) to accomplish that purpose while preserving robust growth in the United States economy, creating new jobs, and avoiding the imposition of hardship on United States citizens.

The article cites concerns about whether this bill, in its current form, should get passed, noting that “the debate will force senators to take a stand on some of the most difficult, expensive and potentially life-altering questions that will face the world in coming decades.”

At the heart of this debate are two central themes. Proponents argue that our nation cannot wait until fuel prices come down in order to deal with these larger issues. Opponents believe “the bill would direct the largest changes in the American economy since the 1930s and should not be rushed through Congress without painstaking debate.”

This is what Frank Ackerman, an economist at Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, had to say:

“How do you price the increased deaths, the losses of endangered species and unique habitats, the increased damages from hurricanes that are becoming more intense...Those numbers dwarf any reasonable estimate of the cost of doing something about climate change. The choice is a no-brainer.”

What do you think? Your comments and insights would be greatly appreciated.

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