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Costs are rising along with extreme weather

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To the editor:

The National Climate Assessment released last week sends a clear message: Climate change is here. We have altered Earth’s natural balance of greenhouse gases (GHG) and there’s no time to waste in reducing our use of fossil fuels.

In the Upper Midwest, heavy precipitation has increased by 38 percent, straining existing roads, bridges and buildings and increasing soil erosion and chemical run-off. Warmer summers threaten crops and people; corn being especially vulnerable.

The military carefully said, “The impacts of climate change could be detrimental to military readiness, strain base resilience both at home and abroad, and may limit our ability to respond to future demands.”

Minnesota has adopted some helpful policies to move Minnesota to a clean energy economy, but this problem is too big for individuals or states. A problem this wide and deep demands national action.

We believe the quickest, surest, most effective way to reduce our use of fossil fuels is to adopt a carbon tax with all the revenue returned to American households. This will offset any price increases for almost all families.

Over the past five years, more and more economists and business and political leaders have recommended the carbon tax as both an economic catalyst and a weapon to fight climate change. A clear price signal to the capital markets will spur investment in clean energy and create millions of new, permanent, and good paying jobs. This will be a boon to both farmers and job seekers in rural areas.

Readers should reflect on the rising costs associated with more extreme weather: insurance, food, health care, oil shocks, and government rescues – $60 billion for Hurricane Sandy alone.

Reducing costs and building our economy seems like a pretty good tradeoff for the inconvenience of a carbon tax.

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