It was an amazing phenomenon that I’ll never forget. In a few short minutes the topography was transformed. Up-stream, each little brook and gully had contributed its small share of water that, when added together, created that flood. Unexpectedly, a whole new landscape was unleashed.
Forty some years later, sitting high and dry on Capitol Hill, current members of the House are poised to introduce the first Republican sponsored carbon pricing bill. The concept of placing a fee on greenhouse gas producing carbon-based fuels has been kicking around for a few years. The general concept is that, like a fee paid to dump garbage in the landfill, a fee would be charged for dumping pollution into our shared atmosphere. One popular version of the bill actually provides an economic stimulus while it cleans our air.
An objection sometimes voiced is that any such fee would have such a miniscule effect on the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted as to be virtually worthless. A recent analysis asserts a carbon fee in the U.S. would prevent only a 0.07 degrees Celsius average rise in temperatures by 2100 – a trifle. But I wonder if the researchers considered the potential cascading effect a carbon fee might unleash that would bring about a much greater difference.
The rains subsided, and Patty’s property suffered only minor damage. Karen and I drove off the next day in a dry and fully-functional Bug.
A price on carbon in the U.S. today could act a bit like one of those small rivulets upstream in Patty’s creek. By joining other carbon reduction actions world-wide, it could become part of a cascade that frees us from our fossil fuel dependency. That additional nudge might foster an unforeseen flood of new, cleaner energy options. It’s a plan to consider because this is the only home we’ll ever know. It’s where we’re forever…Earthbound.