Strive for sustainability
To the Journal editor:
Fossil fuels as a share of final energy consumption remains stubbornly around 80 percent, roughly the same percentage as at the beginning of the 1990’s. This status quo is supported by fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks, amounting to an estimated $373 billion in 2015 (The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).
Globally, in 2017, disasters triggered by weather and climate-related hazards led to staggering $320 billion loss. (Munich, 2018) This does not include outdoor air pollution, largely from fossil fuel combustion, which is estimated to result over 4.2 million premature deaths annually. (WHO, 2016)
Why are we subsidizing dirty and inefficient energy that pollutes our atmosphere and triggers weather and climate related disasters that we end up paying for? We need to move towards clean, efficient and sustainable energy. Leading companies and investors are already getting on board with this new approach, creating a new competitive race.
So too are policy makers who are making it easier to finance renewable energy. The global benefits of a decisive shift to a low-carbon economy, when compared to business-as-usual, would be $26 trillion in direct economic benefits for time period 2018-2030 (The New Climate Economy 2018). Regulations and incentives that hamper the shift to low-carbon and more recyclable economies should be reformed by subsidies, tax breaks, and regulations that encourage unsustainable activities.
A great place to start is to pass the current legislation – Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763) which will put on a fee on carbon emissions and return the fees collected to households. This legislation will also include a border adjustment tax to protect our companies from countries that are not pricing emissions. This market approach will reduce emissions by at least 40 percent in 10 years, create jobs, and provide dividends to American households.