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Climate change is best fought at the national level | READER COMMENTARY

Baltimore, Md.--2/5/18-- District 3 Councilman Ryan Dorsey. Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun md-city-hall-dorsey Lam KKL_0452
Baltimore, Md.--2/5/18-- District 3 Councilman Ryan Dorsey. Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun md-city-hall-dorsey Lam KKL_0452 (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

I applaud City Councilman Ryan Dorsey’s concern about so many fossil-fueled cars and trucks on the streets of Baltimore (“Baltimore’s gas stations: good issue, wrong battlefront,” July 7). They emit carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change and many other noxious pollutants that are terrible for people’s health.

But this battle is best fought at the national level, because gas and diesel cars and trucks are causing the same problems everywhere. And the problem is not just vehicles powered by fossil fuel; the problem is the burning of fossil fuels for any purpose anywhere. Did you know Congress is actually considering a powerful piece of legislation projected to lower carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels by 40% in 12 years? And did you know that three Maryland Congressmen are cosponsors of this legislation? The bill is H.R.763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. The three Maryland cosponsors are Rep. Ruppersberger, Rep. Raskin, and Rep. Trone. And they are joined by 78 other cosponsors from across the country in the House of Representatives.

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What I like most about this legislation is its carbon cashback feature. Fossil fuel producers and importers are required to pay the Treasury a steadily rising fee on the carbon dioxide content of the fuel they sell. This money is then returned to American households as a monthly carbon cashback check, with every adult getting the same amount and every child getting half that amount. Households can use it however they wish.

I’m calling on Councilman Dorsey and all the Baltimore City Council to take a closer look at the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R.763.

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Perhaps the most significant thing the Council can do to fight climate change and reduce the number of polluting cars and trucks on Baltimore’s streets is to join Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and Los Angeles County and Miami and Saint Paul and, in Maryland, Chestertown and Takoma Park, and many other localities across the country and pass a resolution endorsing the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. A national problem requires a national solution, and this act would go a long way toward mitigating the harms of climate change.

Cheryl Arney, Ellicott City

The writer is a Volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

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