Regarding "Forget 'Cap and Trade' " (April 15 Perspectives), we are simply running out of time to "continue the climate-change discussion." With signs of global warming at our doorstep -- severe weather and flooding, unhealthy air days and heat-related deaths, threats to Pennsylvania's agriculture and economy -- our state's environment and economy cannot afford anything less than immediate action.
Our reliance on fossil fuels like coal and oil contributes to global warming emissions more than anything else. Pennsylvania produces 1 percent of the entire world's global warming pollution, though our population is 1/1000th of 1 percent of the world's population. Studies tell us that left unchecked, global warming will result in Pennsylvania's climate resembling that of present-day Alabama and Georgia.
A federal cap-and-trade program is a viable means to cutting down on these emissions. It employs the "polluter pays" principle, holding that the polluters should pay the costs imposed by their pollution on others. It would create a source of revenue we can apply to other smart emission-reduction programs, like making our homes, businesses and vehicles vastly more efficient and moving to clean, renewable energy.
Not only is cap-and-trade a promising approach, it is also the approach on the table. President Obama has called for Congress to pass comprehensive energy and global warming legislation this year, part of which is cap-and-trade. A crucial vote is expected within weeks.
Cap-and-trade may not be a global warming panacea, but it, coupled with other smart energy policies, is a very good start. And we cannot afford to rule out any option any longer.
Clean Water Advocate