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Letter to the Editor from a New Orleans evacuee

Dear Editor:

Between evacuating our homes and fighting over gas for our cars and generators, I know we’ve all got our hands full right now, but that’s exactly why it’s so hard to fix our underlying problems. When we’re all looking down at our feet, just trying not to step in any crap, it’s hard to notice the asteroid headed our way. That asteroid is climate change, and we’re all living through its impacts in a very real way right now. Ida was the fifth strongest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. mainland, not because of dumb luck, but because of excessively warm Gulf waters that feed hurricanes like rocket fuel.

Decades of greenhouse gas emissions have slowly warmed our planet to where it is today, and as difficult as it is, we have to start doing something about our changing climate in a very serious way, even as we feel the need to focus only on each day as it comes. Fortunately, there’s a window of opportunity right now to do something big as Congress puts together its reconciliation bill.

We have until September 15 to make sure the bill includes an annually rising price on carbon that rebates the revenue back to all of us. This is a two-birds one-stone approach. By making fossil fuels more expensive, we’ll use less of it, and by rebating the money back to all of us, we’ll come out ahead after paying for higher prices. Even better we’ll also have a bit more money to afford the costs of escaping and recovering from disasters.

Let’s recover from Ida together as we have every previous storm to hit us, but let’s please also not forget to make some calls about that asteroid headed our way.

 

Scott Santens

New Orleans resident