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Guest Opinion: Support the Bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act: good for people, climate, and the economy

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Guest Opinion: Support the Bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act: good for people, climate, and the economy

The dome of the U.S. Capitol building is seen on March 13, 2018. (Gage Miskimen/The Daily Iowan)

The dome of the U.S. Capitol building is seen on March 13, 2018. (Gage Miskimen/The Daily Iowan)

The dome of the U.S. Capitol building is seen on March 13, 2018. (Gage Miskimen/The Daily Iowan)

The dome of the U.S. Capitol building is seen on March 13, 2018. (Gage Miskimen/The Daily Iowan)


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By:
Claire Muerdter, University of Iowa Graduate Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Christian Bako, University of Iowa Graduate Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Amina Grant, University of Iowa Graduate Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
David Cwiertny, University of Iowa Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Jerry Schnoor, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research

The following views are expressed in our role as private citizens. They are not expressed on behalf of the University of Iowa, University of Iowa Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, or the University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research. We include those entities in our signatures only to show our membership in the university community, and therefore our decision to publish in The Daily Iowan.

Climate change is bringing wetter springs and hotter summers to Iowa. These changes threaten our crucial farming industry as well as urban areas, as outlined in the Des Moines Register (Nov. 30, 2018).

Changes in rainfall and temperatures are predicted to decrease crop yields, potentially up to 25% for corn in the next 30 years, according to the recent federal Fourth National Climate Assessment. Flooding is expected to increase across the state, including in cities.

Climate change is no longer a threat to the distant future. It is here now.

These changes are driven by human emissions of heat-trapping gases that accumulate in the atmosphere. We are the ones making the situation worse. We also have the power to make it better. The time to act is now. The longer we delay, the harder it will be to keep the climate liveable.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act was recently reintroduced in the US House of Representatives. It would place a steadily rising fee on carbon pollution and return all revenue to households equally. This bill is a market-based approach with bipartisan support, originally cosponsored by Republican Representative Francis Rooney (FL) and Democratic Representatives Ted Deutch (FL), Judy Chu (CA), Charlie Crist (FL), Anna Eshoo (CA), Dan Lipinski (IL), and Scott Peters (CA). Other representatives have signed on as cosponsors since the act’s introduction.

The act was also introduced in the last session of the US Senate, co-sponsored by former Republican Senator Jeff Flake (AZ) and Democratic Senator Chris Coons (DE). Additionally, four former Federal Reserve chairs from both parties and Nobel Laureate economists support the idea of taxing carbon dioxide emissions and returning the funds to taxpayers (https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/425841-former-federal-reserve-chairs-economists-back-carbon-tax).

The act seeks to drive down carbon pollution while putting money in citizens’ pockets. This plan is good for business and will create jobs. We ask Representative Dave Loebsack, who represents southeast Iowa (including Iowa City), to support this important legislation. We also ask Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to support the reintroduction of the act in the Senate.

It’s time to set aside partisan differences and, for the good of our nation and the world, enact the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

More information about the act is available at https://citizensclimatelobby.org/energy-innovation-and-carbon-dividend-act.

Call or write your Senators and/or Representative to show your support. If you vote outside of Iowa City and don’t know who represents you, find them at https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative and https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.

Encourage your congressperson to support the bill, as well as climate action in general. If you like to talk to a real person, call the congressperson’s office during business hours. If you prefer voicemail, call in the evening or on weekends. Or, write a letter or email. However you do it, take a few minutes and make your voice heard.

If you are interested in being further involved, follow the work of the Iowa City Climate Advocates (https://iowa-city-climate-advocates.org) or join us at our next meeting. We are the Iowa City chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the non-profit, nonpartisan organization that helped get the bill introduced.

Thank you for your time and efforts. They really do make a difference.

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