Letter to the Editor: Encourage Congress to Address Climate Change Legislation

President Joe Biden’s proposal to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, the American Jobs Plan, has a strong climate focus. The proposal aims to make our infrastructure more resilient to climate impacts, and it includes initiatives to reduce emissions in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The president’s plan would provide not only funding for roads, bridges and transit systems, but also for sustainable housing and buildings, electric vehicles, and research and development for clean-energy technology.

Notably, Rep. Mike Gallagher, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has issued a statement harshly criticizing the infrastructure package, while omitting any reference to climate change.

However, a 2020 report on managing climate risk by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) validates President Biden’s climate goals. This document details the threat that climate change poses to America’s energy, water, transportation and communication infrastructure. For example, it asserts that extreme precipitation, inundation from sea-level rise, extreme heat and forest fires “challenge nearly every element of transportation systems, from bridges and airports to pipelines and ports.”

This CFTC report warns: “A world wracked by frequent and devastating shocks from climate change cannot sustain the fundamental conditions supporting our financial system. Promoting the transition to a net-zero-emissions economy and safeguarding financial stability are consistent, mutually reinforcing objectives.”

Regarding climate solutions, the report concludes that “it is essential that the United States establish a price on carbon. This is the single most important step to manage climate risk. In the absence of such a price, capital will continue to flow in the wrong direction, rather than toward accelerating the transition to a net-zero-emissions economy.”

That’s why I’m encouraged that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act has been introduced in the House of Representatives. This bill puts a steadily rising fee on carbon-dioxide emissions and returns the money to the American people.

Let’s urge our members of Congress to take action to address this critical national-security threat.

Terry Hansen

Hales Corners, Wisconsin