The October 8th climate report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is terrifying. It “describes a strong risk of crisis as early as 2040.” Even if you expect to die by 2030, you have no kids, and you only care about your own corner of Washington state, you should be scared. We may all have to compete for food when worsening droughts threaten crop outputs. Our water may become unsafe if increased rainfall overcomes our sewage treatment plants as it did in February 2017 at the West Point Sewage plant.  The horrible smoke we experienced in August could well get worse.  There will be days when it’s not safe for you to go outdoors.  

“It’s too late!” you might claim.  “We might as well enjoy ourselves as nothing can be done.”   If we’ve done nothing by 2030, you might be correct. But in 2018, we can still stabilize our world if we act quickly.

What can we do?

First of all,  support I-1631. It will be on the ballot for all Washington State voters, and the ballot is due November 6th!  This carbon fee will lower emissions. Like Bill Gates, you should vote for it and tell your friends to do the same.

Image by Yes on 1631

Secondly, oppose Puget Sound Energy’s current infrastructure plans. Rather than move toward a “smart” grid more suited to renewable energy, they aim to cut down three hundred trees in Bellevue as a prelude to cutting down thousands more throughout the Eastside for the misguided “Energize Eastside” program. Every tree absorbs the CO2 we desperately need to reduce. Each tree exhales oxygen. These benefits are destroyed by chainsaws which will appear in January if we don’t stop them. You can help by donating and belonging to and/or With their alerts, you can speak out against fossil fuels in public meetings and/or participate in protests.

Protest Puget Sound Energy’s Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Tacoma. Our power company should be working shoulder to shoulder with us to increase building efficiency, and spread the adoption of rooftop solar, electric cars, and battery storage.  If they build new fossil fuel infrastructure, they will instead make us pay for the dirty energy that brought us to the dangerous precipice we face today. To act on this issue, attend the public hearing on October 30th in Tacoma to oppose the LNG plant.

Image from Sierra Club Washington State Chapter

Third, support a national carbon fee and dividend. One way to support this is by getting involved with your local Citizen’s Climate Lobby chapter (Seattle or Bellevue). There is a tremendous amount of bipartisan support for this policy. Furthermore, the policy can bring us surprisingly close to the 45% reduction in emissions by 2030 that the IPCC recommends!  Here’s why:

  • A carbon fee and dividend approach has support from basically all economists and multiple conservative groups including Americans for Carbon Dividends, the Climate Leadership Council, and Students for Carbon Dividends.  Financial supporters of this type of plan include First Solar, American Wind Energy Association, and Exxon Mobil.  A 2018 poll from Yale Climate Communications shows 68% of Americans support requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax.  
  • In addition to widespread support, carbon fee and dividend has the power to bring us towards the emissions reductions recommended by the IPCC.  Steep reductions will result as long as the fee for polluting increases each year. For example, if the starting fee is $10 per ton of CO2 emitted and the price goes up by $10 each year, we are likely to lower emissions 33% below baseline within ten years according to the Regional Economic Models, Inc (page 30). If we return all the fees to households, then jobs and the economy will be protected. This policy has a border adjustment, which requires countries to pay a border tax unless they have their own carbon tax. carbon fee and dividend is likely to spread to other countries and become hugely effective worldwide.

Action is the antidote to despair

Action truly is the antidote to despair.  You can make a difference by choosing public transit, using your neighborhood “Buy Nothing” group, and selecting fruits and vegetables more often than meat. To exercise your power even more fully, ignore the $20 million raised by fossil fuel interests and vote yes on I-1631.  Take action to support a national fee and dividend policy by visiting Also, talk to your family and friends. The time has come for each of us to hear the planet’s distress calls and contribute to actions that can save us all.

Featured image by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

© Emeraldology 2018