As we face the daily challenges of dealing with COVID-19, we hold out hope for a vaccine. That vaccine will require scientific discovery and technological innovation. Meanwhile, we can’t just sit back and wait for the vaccine but must apply principles of public health to reduce our risks.
In addition to the formidable coronavirus, we face another crisis: our changing climate. Like COVID-19, we hope for a “cure,” a way of living without spewing CO2 and other heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere. We hope for innovation to solve the problem, but meanwhile must reduce emissions with the tools we have.
President Donald Trump has created “Operation Warp Speed” to facilitate the development of a vaccine. Similarly, we need policy to facilitate a “warp speed” transition to a zero-carbon economy. HB763, the federal Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, is an important first step. This bill will put a price on fossil fuels and return the proceeds to all Americans. It will stimulate innovation while motivating everyone to make lower carbon choices.
While COVID-19 is taking its toll, the earth is also getting dangerously warmer. Let’s tackle both problems with sound science and effective policy.