The baking of planet Earth is proceeding without interruption. Last year was the hottest year on record, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — edging out 2015, which had taken the crown from 2014. Of the world's 17 warmest documented years, 16 have come in this century.
Thirty years ago, as the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer was dwindling at alarming rates, we were serving proudly under President Ronald Reagan. We remember his leading role in negotiating the Montreal Protocol, which continues to protect and restore the delicate ozone layer. Today the world faces a similar challenge: the threat of climate change.
A group of Republican elder statesmen is calling for a tax on carbon emissions to fight climate change.
The idea of a revenue-neutral carbon tax is hardly new. My colleagues Clifford Cobb, Jonathan Rowe, and I wrote about this 20 years ago in an Atlantic cover story. What’s new is that in 2008, the right-of center government in British Columbia introduced such a plan, and sufficient time has now passed to weigh the results. Fossil fuel use in British Columbia has since fallen by 16 percent, as compared to a 3 percent increase in the rest of Canada, and its economy has outperformed the rest of the country. So the benefits of this approach are no longer theoretical.