Urgency for Action Increasing in America

Since Sandy and recent extreme weather patterns, a recent poll shows that 82% Democrats, 73% Independents and 50% of Republicans show desire for climate action as they worry about extreme weather and its associated growing costs. 65%, a majority of voters want immediate action and urge for renewable energy over fossil fuels or the tar sand pipeline. With effective campaigns such as the “Do the Math,” universities, city mayors and even oil companies are beginning to considering regulating and finding alternatives to fossil fuels. And with the World Bank, United Nations and World Meteorological Organization putting forth new reports on the fast progression of climate change, it is apparent that urgency for action is increasing.

Climate Change Back On the Front Burner … For Some

Cross-post from SustainableBusiness.com

by SustainableBusiness.com News

Since the election ended and Hurricane Sandy passed, there’s been much more talk of climate change by average citizens, the press, politicians and lobbyists.

Polls show the desire for action on climate change has skyrocketed since Sandy and the extreme weather during 2012. 82% of Democrats, 73% of Independents and 50% of Republicans are worried about extreme weather and its growing costs. That’s a big change from 2009, when two-thirds of Republicans and nearly half of Independents said they weren’t ‘at all concerned.’

A majority of voters (65%) want immediate action and want renewable energy over fossils fuels or the tar sands pipeline.

Last weekend, over 3,000 people marched around the White House, calling on the Obama Administration to keep his commitment to tackle climate change by rejecting the Keystone tar sands pipeline.

Hundreds of people turned out in NYC and in 40 solidarity actions worldwide to demand “System Change, Not Climate Change.”

Universities are under pressure to divest their portfolios from fossil fuels, thanks to the “Do the Math” national campaign, that’s just begun. Unity College in Maine pledged to divest and the Mayor of Seattle is considering divesting city funds. Campaigns are underway at 50 universities and Harvard’s student body voted 72% in favor of divesting its $30.7 billion endowment from fossil fuels.

Interestingly, Shell – which insists on drilling in the Arctic and has strong ties to tar sands – is among 100 corporations that sent a letter to European lawmakers asking for a “clear” world-wide price on carbon emissions. “Putting a clear, transparent and unambiguous price on carbon emissions must be a core policy objective to underpin the investment needed to deliver substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions by mid-century, says the letter. Signatories include Kodak, KPMG, Unilever, Swiss Re, Alstom, Acciona and Electricite de France.

Even Exxon came out in favor of a carbon tax, saying, it prefers that to heavy-handed regulation. “Combined with further advances in energy efficiency and new technologies spurred by market innovation, a well-designed carbon tax could play a significant role in addressing the challenge of rising emissions,” spokesperson Kimberly Brasington told Bloomberg. “A carbon tax should be made revenue neutral via tax offsets in other areas,” she added.

But Koch Bros-backed Americans for Prosperity reminded House GOP members that they all signed a “no climate tax” pledge. Signers agree to “oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.”

The conservative American Enterprise Institute held a full-day discussion last week on how best to implement a carbon tax, which could also enable a cut corporate taxes and head off EPA regulation. The same day, another conservative outfit, Competitive Enterprise Institute, filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department, seeking private e-mails that would show the administration is secretly pushing for a carbon tax, reports Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, most everyone has heard President Obama’s reaction to a question on how he’ll address climate change asked during his first press conference. His reply was that his priority is to extend economic growth, expand job creation, not realizing that addressing climate change would do exactly that (as he’s said in the past!).

A recent Congressional Research Service analysis that concludes a modest carbon tax of $20 per ton, rising 5.6% a year, would cut the projected 10-year deficit IN HALF – from $2.3 trillion down to $1.1 trillion.

If designed correctly, it would shift the burden of paying for pollution (and solutions to it) from taxpayers to polluters, and generate revenue that could be used to pay down the debt, incentivize clean energy, and build our resiliency to climate change.

Read the full article here.

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