Cutting carbon pollution will help us all keep our heads above water
Oct 30, 2017 | 1:50 PM
If saltwater regularly soaked your basement or first floor, kept you from getting to work, or damaged your car, how often would it have to happen before you began looking for a new place to call home? (Union of Concerned Scientists / YouTube)
Zillow's analysis calculated real-estate losses under 6 feet of sea-level rise. Five years ago, this represented the "extreme" scenario for sea-level rise. However, polar ice sheets are deteriorating so rapidly that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had to revise its predictions, and now the "extreme" scenario is 8 feet. This worsening forecast tells us something: We need to step up our climate game — and fast.The plan to strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a positive step in that direction, but RGGI only reduces carbon emissions within the electricity sector. Maryland and other RGGI states could complement this strategy with a fee on carbon pollution in other sectors, such as transportation and heating.
Returning the bulk of this revenue to households will protect lower-income families from higher fossil-fuel prices as we incentivize the switch to clean energy. These carbon dividends will help keep our heads above water — as we act to keep our houses above water.