For most of us, there is plenty to worry about without adding in the climate crisis. One good thing that staying home has given us is time to think, not only about how life is now, but how we and the climate could come out of this in much better health.
Like two peas in a pod, COVID-19 and the climate crisis follow the same exponential accelerating curves. And although the COVID-19 curve is beginning to level off somewhat, the climate crisis curve is not.
In his Earth Day speech, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres listed these six principles to push to end fossil fuel subsidies at a time when both oil companies and households are struggling to pay their bills:
1. As we spend huge amounts of money to recover from the coronavirus, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition.
2. Where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it needs to be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth.
3. Fiscal firepower must drive a shift from the grey to green economy and make societies and people more resilient.
4. Public funds should be used to invest in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate. Fossil fuel subsidies must end, and polluters must start paying for their pollution.
5. Climate risks and opportunities must be incorporated into the financial system as well as all aspects of public policy making and infrastructure.
6. We need to work together as an international community.
As the majority of Americans support Congress taking action on the climate crisis, there is a resolution in Congress currently awaiting action: the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763).
The Carbon Dividend Act calls for a carbon fee collected on carbon emissions which will be allocated to all Americans in the form of a dividend that is deposited in our accounts the same way the stimulus money is. In the process, it incentivizes energy companies to develop technology innovation and ingenuity by providing some 2.1 million new jobs in local communities across America.
Following the U.N.’s six principles, HR 763 needs to be enacted now and be included as part of the next stimulus package.
This COVID-19 emergency is reminding us that we are living with the climate crisis emergency too. The combination of the two emergencies reminds us that we are living beings born of and nurtured by a living Earth. Our well-being depends on Earth’s well-being. Life is the goal, community is essential and money is only a tool. Let the clearing skies around the world be the other goal we strive for with all of us working together to make it so.
Contact your representatives and strongly urge them to support HR 763.