The article published in the Connecticut Mirror on Jan. 18, “Sandy + 5; Irene +6: Coastal resilience still elusive and expensive,” highlighted the need for Connecticut’s coastal towns to develop plans to become more resilient to hurricanes and rising sea level, yet it made no mention of the need to address climate change, the consequences of which include coastal flooding and more extreme weather events.
Resilience plans are important, and coastal municipalities should certainly make every effort to adapt to the changing climate to mitigate the costs to taxpayers of future flooding from storms and rising sea levels. At the same time, we should also aim to control climate change. We must reduce carbon pollution, i.e., CO2 released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, from its current level of over 400 ppm to 350 ppm or lower.
Citizen’s Climate Lobby, a non-partisan, grassroots organization, advocates that the most efficient and effective means of attaining this goal is through carbon fee and dividend legislation that would impose a fee on all fossil fuels at their source and return all fees, minus administrative costs, to households as a monthly dividend. Connecticut has three U.S. Representatives – Rep. Jim Himes (D-3rd District), Rep. John Larson (D-1st District) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) — on the Climate Solutions Caucus in the House to work towards a fee on carbon.
To deal with climate change, Connecticut residents should push for carbon-fee and dividend legislation at the state and federal levels while urging their local government to adopt smart resilience plans.
Kate Gilstad-Hayden of Westbrook is a member of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby.