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To the editor:

Florida is going through a sea change on climate disruption. Yep. Happening and I'm the Mexican who's paying for it.

A slow change in the average is invisible to people and needs scientific aids to see. It was a similar problem with germs. Black plagues would spread through Europe like wildfire every 50 to a 100 years. Humanity had yet to understand the causes. They rounded up the usual suspects, witches, Jews, and heretics, and burnt them, which 1. didn't help cope with the problem, and 2. created another far worse problem. Along came science and the microscope and we began to see germs and gradually understand the causes of the plagues and eliminate them through public sanitation.

Our challenge today is slightly analogous to overcoming the black plagues. We need scientific means to detect the causes of climate disruption and then we can take effective steps to eliminate those causes.

“The main reason people reject the science of climate change is because they reject what they perceive to be the solutions: total government control, loss of personal liberties, destruction of the economy. But ironically, what motivates people to care and to act is an awareness of the genuine solutions: a new clean-energy future, improving our standard of living, and building local jobs and the local economy.” — Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University.

What might a clean-energy future look like? I don't have all the answers but I have this to report: Electric cars are really fun to drive. Where I especially get a thump out of driving an electric is going down Temple Hill in Logan. Formerly, it was all about putting the transmission into low and using a combustion engine as a waster of the downward energy, both wasting the energy and wearing out the engine. Now, I get some free go juice going down that hill at 10 mph. At the stop sign, I glance at the battery mileage gauge. It's gone up by a mile.

What is the role of government in assisting us meet this challenge? We don't need government to pick winners and losers in the energy market place, but government has a role to play when an industry pollutes a public reservoir such as our atmosphere. By merely doing nothing about pollution, government taxes your health to subsidize polluting industries. Add to that the direct government subsidies polluting industries get here in Utah and this is unfair to industries that don't pollute. There's a growing consensus among conservatives and progressives that we need a way to price carbon emissions, but this poses a problem. An additional fee on fossil carbon fuel disproportionately affects lower income people.

Charles Ashurst


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