Dear Congressman Lewis,
I write to you today as the father of two young men who will one day have children of their own. I worry about the kind of world that I will leave behind for my future grandchildren, particularly if we fail to address the impending threat of climate change.
It’s a world, I fear, that will descend into chaos when sea levels rise and hundreds of millions of people are forced to migrate, becoming climate refugees. It’s a world where most of the glaciers that hold water for a billion people have vanished, further stressing fragile nations in danger of becoming failed states. A world where increasing drought causes food shortages and famine in more and more places. A world where the beaches I’ve enjoyed most of my life have disappeared.
As my Congressman, I expect you to address this challenge by sponsoring legislation that will quickly enable our nation to make the transition from fossil fuels – which increase the level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere – to clean energy. The most efficient and effective way to do this is to place a direct fee on carbon-based fuels at the mine, well or port of entry. That fee should rise steadily and predictably so that clean sources of energy become cheaper than coal and oil within a decade. As this will cause energy costs to go up, we can protect American families from the economic impact by returning all the revenue from the carbon fee equally to all households.
Mr. Lewis, as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, you are well-positioned to shepherd this legislation through the House of Representatives. I implore you to take the lead in this initiative.
Your legacy from the Civil Rights movement is well-established, and your work during that time made us a better nation. This is a moment when our nation – our world – needs your leadership again.
I look forward to hearing from you on this.