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Letter: Coronavirus can teach us how to address climate change

Like many, the past few weeks have transformed how I think about the coronavirus. My initial lack of concern has been replaced by a “do my part” mentality as I stay home. A key part of this transformation in my personal thinking was based on how seriously my government leaders have taken this crisis. State and local officials have listened to their public health officials, clearly communicated, made long-term plans and generally been on top of things. I’m proud to live here, and I hope that our early action will limit the spread of the virus.

I see a clear lesson in this for how we address climate change. Our individual actions are important, but transformation on a large scale requires our government officials to listen to scientists, take the problem seriously and step up, just like they have with the coronavirus. And just like with coronavirus, early action is key to prevent the worst outcomes.

One big difference, however, is that we can take the action we need without destroying our economy and completely shutting down business. We can transform our individual behavior with a nationwide carbon-fee and dividend bill like the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, or HR763. This would make carbon-intensive activities more expensive, returning the proceeds entirely to households, minimizing the impacts on ordinary Americans. Our carbon emissions are just as big a danger to our children’s lives as the coronavirus is to our parents. As we all begin the process of recovering from the impacts of the coronavirus, let’s not forget to fight for the future, too.

Anil Seth

Salt Lake City