Letter to the Editor: An end to fossil fuels

Dear Editor: 

In L.A. County, air pollution kills over 1,300 people per year, three times the rate of the next most polluted area which is New York.

Yet in the smoggiest area in the nation, right next door to us, a dog-washing van ran its noisy, polluting motor and air conditioner continuously for over two hours yesterday to wash two little dogs.

Why do we allow trucks like this to pollute our already dirty air with no penalty? Why are oil companies allowed to push their dirty product on all of us without paying any pollution taxes? We all have to breathe the filthy air that results.

Our whole society runs on fossil fuels. But now we are running up against the consequences of our failure to transition to clean energy. With pollution making it hard to breathe and the climate getting hotter and bringing us ever closer to runaway catastrophic climate change, it is time for a change. 

There are good alternatives to fossil fuels and we need to develop them more quickly. The way to go is for Congress to pass a steadily rising revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend. The fee will be paid by fossil fuel companies when oil, gas and coal are taken out of the ground or imported from abroad, and all the money collected and divided equally and refunded back to each American family in a monthly climate-rebate check. A similar approach is already in place in British Columbia, Canada.

Then we will see solar panels, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks and cars proliferate. Impartial studies commissioned by the environmental group Citizens’ Climate Lobby have shown that the majority of middle- and lower-income people will come out ahead financially (and those who use the least carbon will be way ahead!) with a carbon-fee-and-dividend plan.

We could run our society without using fossil fuels and without sacrificing our comfortable way of life by the year 2050 if we start a national effort now.

Anita Rivero