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A Taxing Solution to the Greatest Challenge of Our Time

Could a Tax on Carbon Pollution Maintain the Health of our Country?

Ben Franklin said it best—nothing is certain, “except death and taxes.”

Like most Americans, we submit our 1040s to maintain the health of our nation. However, we’d personally rather decrease our income tax and instead pay a fee that reduces carbon pollution and could preserve the planet.

The carbon-intensive oil, gas, and coal industries are stoking climate change. According to a new UN report, the threats to our civilization are enormous. Crop failures, the top concern in the UN’s report, will cause widespread starvation in all parts of the world. Countries will face a cascade of destabilizing events: severe water shortages, heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires, intense storms, rising sea levels and other catastrophes on an unprecedented scale. Civil wars and conflicts between nations will increase as people compete for scarce natural resources.

The good news is that while it is too late to avoid climate change — it’s already happening — humanity can still temper its force. One of the simplest ways to slow the pace of climate change is by levying a fee on greenhouse gas emissions.

Putting a price on burning oil, gas, and coal that reflects the damage inflicted on the environment will make renewable energy alternatives (like solar, geothermal, and wind) and energy-reducing investments more competitive.

Our friend Alan Rushforth lives near Philadelphia and started a small solar-powered water-heating business a few years ago. Even with state and federal subsidies, it took Rushforth Solar’s customers five to seven years to break even compared with the cost of installing natural gas heaters, so it was a tough sell.

Sochi’s Last Winter Olympics

Sochi Olympics with no snow

Are we witnessing the last Winter Olympics held in Sochi? The Russian games are already relying primarily on manmade snow. SMI Snowmakers, a Michigan-based company, has spent the last 4 years designing and installing a system that has blown the equivalent of 920 football fields of snow onto Sochi’s slopes.

Will other winter games sites including Squaw Valley, Vancouver and Grenoble also fall victim to climate change induced weather patterns that are literally melting down the list of available host venues? The answer, according to a recent study, is a resounding yes.  In all but the lowest greenhouse gas emissions estimates, the goal of limiting global temperature increase to 2° C will not be met. And as a result warmer winters will mean less snow.

However, unless global climate solutions are rapidly agreed to and implemented, the damage done to winter sports will only be (pardon the pun) the tip of the iceberg.  We’ll skip the doomsday scenarios for now, but in the words of President Obama at his State of the Union address, “the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” 

Edward Rawson: 1914 - 2013

Ed is honored for the 1st "Edward Rawson Global Citizen Award"

With the passing of the old year, we lost a beloved friend, benefactor and leader, Edward Rawson. He passed away quietly at his home in McLean, Virginia surrounded by his family. He would have been 100 this February. We knew him as Ed, Mr. Rawson and Grandpa.  For so many of us he was “my friend” and “my teacher.”

Ed Rawson - Vintage PhotoEd has been part of Global Solutions movement from the beginning. He attended the 1947 founding of the United World Federalists in Asheville, North Carolina. Ed was the World Federalist Association’s (WFA) Treasurer for 20 years, retiring in 1996. He served for several years as Executive Vice President of the Campaign for UN Reform, and served until his passing as a Trustee of the World Federalist Endowment Fund, which he helped to establish. He was a past president of the WFA DC Metro Chapter, past chair of the WFA Executive Committee, and a recipient of the WFA "Presidential Award". Received a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Yale Law School, he served abroad with the State Department and Agency for International Development, and eventually as AID coordinator for relations with other federal agencies.