If we were to hold another ballot measure next week, adopting an official statement of gratitude for the END of the election, that motion might pass with broad bipartisan support.
Regardless of outcome, campaign seasons are long and tiring, and I look forward to the more-casual conversations with all those neighbors who vote differently from me. And besides, this election was hardly a clean sweep for either wing, with strong conservative control remaining in both the Supreme Court and in the U.S. Senate. Things couldn’t get much more even than they will be in 2021, and that makes “working together” the best path forward.
President-elect Biden was not the choice of the most progressive Democrats, representing more of a centrist ideology as compared with Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders or Jay Inslee. But his election means significant consideration of progressive goals, including climate action.
In a campaign stop this past September, Biden said, “Hurricanes don’t swerve to avoid red states or blue states. Wildfires don’t skip towns that voted a certain way. The impacts of climate change don’t pick and choose. It’s not a partisan phenomenon, and our response should be the same.” He took a chance by making a televised climate speech and running similar ads in swing states, believing that members of both parties are concerned with this crucial issue, and that gamble paid off in victory.
Fortunately, there are plenty of conservative leaders who feel the same way; in October, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) participated in a climate policy working group. After noting that bipartisanship gives longevity to policies, she asked colleagues to “work in a way that is going to get the support that you need from both Republicans and Democrats.”
But it’s not just politicians who are looking for climate action. According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, most Mississippians are worried about the human impact on our global climate and believe Congress should act on this issue. In fact, nearly three-quarters of Mississippians want stricter regulation of CO2 pollution, and over 80% want more investments in renewable energy. And judging by the record-breaking 2020 hurricane season and the millions of acres of burned lands out west, these views are certainly justified. If we are to have any chance of turning the tide on this slowly developing disaster, quick action will be needed to curb excess greenhouse gas emissions.
There are many climate policies being debated domestically and internationally, but one of the most effective would be to enact a carbon fee. If Congress were to levy a fee on fossil fuels, they could steer our country toward sustainable energy, reducing dependence on unstable foreign energy sources and slashing emissions simultaneously. The revenues generated from the carbon fees could then be rebated to American families to spend as they see fit, reducing the burden on our consumers. There even are options to waive the carbon fees for our vital agricultural producers and place a border adjustment on foreign imports in order to protect more sustainably produced American goods.
Known as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act and the Growing Climate Solutions Act, these types of bills are supported by such diverse groups as Farm Bureau, National Farmers Union and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Aside from reducing climate impacts, these bills will lead to job growth, economic advantages for American agricultural production, cleaner air and a healthier work force that is less in need of government support, and a more resilient Gulf that can continue to feed us and protect us from storms.
Mississippians are ready for Sen. Wicker and other elected representatives to support this type of legislation and help move our country forward to meet this challenge – while we still have the chance.
Chris Werle of Lamar County is Mississippi state coordinator for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Write him at email@example.com.