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Electric cars are a start but getting to energy finish line requires more

In the face of rising temperatures, now may be the time to impose a tax on carbon and offset the burden to consumers with household rebate checks.
In the face of rising temperatures, now may be the time to impose a tax on carbon and offset the burden to consumers with household rebate checks. (Baltimore Sun)

Two years ago, my husband and I went to our first Drive Electric week. Two days after that, we bought one of the 100% electric cars on displayed there — a Nissan Leaf.

Almost two years and 17,000 miles later, having driven with friends to many parts of the Eastern Shore, and into Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Center Valley, Pa., I arrived at Drive Electric Week in Clarksville Commons with my Leaf this past Saturday (“Electric Car Show coming to Clarksville Commons,” Sept. 13).

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It was great to see friends and talk to people about how viable it is to drive electric in 2019 — on road trips as well as for the daily commute. However, given the pace of climate change, we need to accelerate the rate at which we are transitioning out of fossil fuels, not just the gasoline in our cars but out of the fossil fuels that still dominate our electricity production.

Luckily, there’s a grassroots organization working quietly for bipartisan energy transition at the federal level and actually has a bill supported by economists, scientists, (retired) military generals, businesses, religious leaders and over 1,000 other influential individuals and organizations. This group, Citizens Climate Lobby, was “tabling” at Drive Electric Week in Howard County to share about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 763.

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The bill is effective because it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40% in 12 years. It is also bipartisan, in part, because it is revenue-neutral. I appreciate the fact that it costs the government nothing to run this program and this program does not grow government.

Because the fee is returned equitably to all households, this policy would stimulate the economy, growing the economy by 2.1 million jobs over baseline of business as usual. And, of course, by transitioning to 21st century energy sources, we would save a few hundred thousand American lives from the co-pollutants of burning fossil fuels.

What’s missing from passing this bill? Political will. Howard County can help create political will by demanding bipartisan climate action of our local, state and federal representatives to support and co-sponsor H.R. 763. In Howard County, we have three federal representatives, but only one of them has co-sponsored. We should thank Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger for his co-sponsorship, and ask Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. John Sarbanes to co-sponsor.

Sabrina S. Fu, Ellicott City

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