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November 02, 2021

Putting a price on climate change and on carbon

Credit: Bay Journal, Vianna Newman Dennis

As the Oct. 25 article, What are the Chesapeake Bay’s marshes worth? New study suggests billions, demonstrates, the effects of storms intensified by climate change can be measured in concrete numbers: rising sea level, stronger wind speeds, higher flood waters, millions of people flooded and billions of dollars in damage. Just as it’s past time to recognize that climate change has a price, it’s time to put a price on the carbon that causes it.

Setting a price on carbon that fossil fuel companies must pay will incentivize carbon polluters to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energies. This strategy is endorsed by scientists, economists, business leaders, and many members of Congress. Among them are Senator Ben Cardin (MD) and Maryland Representatives Jamie Raskin, Dutch Ruppersberger, and David Trone in the Chesapeake Bay region, and in the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed, Senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper of Delaware and Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Discussions are currently underway in Congress about including carbon pricing in the reconciliation package, pairing it with a dividend program that would distribute the collected fees to American households.

Together with other important programs like conserving marsh lands, carbon pricing will work to mitigate the effects of climate change in the Chesapeake region. Even the George Mason study’s lowest estimates for sea-level rise are distressing. Putting a price on carbon will set the U.S. on a path to better numbers and a safer future.

Vianna Newman Dennis of Silver Spring, MD