When I think of the partisan divide that prevents us from addressing the climate crisis, I like to look to history for inspiration and stories of successes that helped change the world. How have we built bridges in the past? How can we come together and work for the common good—a livable world for us all? One of my favorite examples is an event in 1986 for the purpose of raising awareness and money to fight hunger and homelessness in America. (The participation fee was about $10.) It was called Hands Across America. On May 25, over 5 million people came together, joining hands for 15 minutes, making a human chain that reached from Manhattan, N.Y., to Long Beach, Calif., a 4,125-mile route! To me, that is an incredible feat that literally “built a bridge,” uniting us from sea to sea.
Can we do the same with the climate crisis? Can we reach across the aisle, transcend the politics, and find common ground and common values? I believe we can. And it comes in the form of legislation that was recently cosponsored by three Republicans—Francis Rooney, Brian Fitzpatrick and Dave Trott—and five Democrats—Ted Deutch, John Delaney, Charlie Crist, Anna Eshoo and Judy Chu. It is called H.R. 7173, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. The most appealing feature of this bill is the carbon dividend that is rebated to all American households equally in the form of a monthly check. (The money for this carbon dividend comes from a fee on carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels.) The carbon dividend will protect the incomes of lower- and middle-income families by putting money in their pockets to offset rising energy costs—often with money left over to spend as they wish. Other positive aspects of this bill: it is bipartisan; it is simple and effective, reducing our carbon emissions by 40 percent in 12 years; it is good for health and saves lives by reducing air pollution; it will add 2.1 million jobs over the next 10 years as we transition to a clean energy economy; it will spur the innovation and development of renewable energy and low-carbon products that give consumers greener options; and there is a border carbon adjustment fee to protect American jobs and encourage other countries to enact their own price on carbon. To learn more about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, visit https://energyinnovationact.org
If you want to take action for a livable world, “join hands” and build the bridge that will turn our climate crisis around. Write or call your two senators and representative and ask them to support H.R. 7173, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act:
• Sen. Tammy Baldwin: 202-224-5653
• Sen. Ron Johnson: 202-224-523
• Rep. Sean Duffy (7th District): 202-225-3365