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Extreme weather events demand better planning

To the Editor:
With warm weather approaching we are very fortunate to have the TVA and local electric companies that have modernized our power grid, improved battery storage, and so on, in order to be better prepared for future extreme temperatures. March has proven to be a deadly time in Tennessee with tornadoes. Our own Northeast Tennessee had four strong tornadoes in May of 2011, which killed 10 people. However, the National Weather Service Deputy Director, Mary Erickson, said recently that with the national Drought Monitor there is much to be concerned with because there is a prediction of extreme drought.
However, the root challenge is the same: we’re feeling the impact of climate change here and now, and we’re running out of time to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing the extreme weather events. We must therefore use all the tools at our disposal to curtail those emissions.
One of the most effective tools is an ambitious price on carbon that is bipartisan and will speed up the transition to a low- or zero-carbon economy. A carbon price can quickly slash our emissions and save lives —plus, when designed right, it can actually pay people and benefit American business. Endorsements from the scientific community, businesses, economists, and more show that this is the consensus solution. In our area several groups and businesses have endorsed a bill that will help quickly mitigate climate change. They include the Friends of Roan Mountain, PureLife Chiropractic, Hoffman Composting, First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, and Green Earth Mountain Retreat.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently released a new report naming a carbon tax as one of the solutions to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently announced its support of a “market-based approach to accelerate emissions reductions” — in other words, a carbon price. With the revenue returned to Americans in cash.
One example of this approach is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which garnered 85 cosponsors by the end of the last Congress. [We need to urge our representatives to support a new carbon pricing policy in the current Congress].
The extreme weather ravaging our nation should serve as a warning that our climate could one day be unbearable if we fail to take the actions necessary to rein in climate change. An effective price on carbon with money given to households can put us on the path to preserving a livable world.

Norma Morrison
Hampton
(Morrison is a volunteer with the Northeast chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.)