Quantcast
Business

Why a Carbon Tax Is Absolutely Essential to Combating Climate Change

So, what does a major investment from Verizon Wireless and the melting of our polar ice caps have in common? A lot more than you may think. On Monday, America’s largest wireless provider announced that it will be making a $40 million investment in solar power at eight of its facilities across the U.S.

A report put out by the Citizens Climate Lobby shows that a $10 carbon tax would cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 28 percent of 2005 levels.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

According to a press release from Verizon, new solar installations at facilities in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York will nearly double the amount of energy that Verizon gets from solar power. Speaking about the $40 million investment, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer James Gowen told Bloomberg that, “Solar is a proven technology. It didn’t hurt that the technology is getting better and prices are coming down.”

Last year, Verizon announced a similar $100 million investment in solar power and fuel cell technologies. These types of investments in clean and green forms of renewable energy from major U.S. corporations couldn’t come sooner. That’s because new research suggests that climate change and global warming are happening a lot faster than we first thought.

According to new data from a European space probe, our planet’s two largest ice sheets—in Greenland and Antarctica—are melting at unprecedented speeds. The CryoSat-2 space probe has discovered that the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are losing a stunning 120 cubic miles of ice each year. 

That’s a lot of ice that's going from being frozen ice up on land into being river water flowing into the rising oceans. But more importantly, the rate of sea ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica has more than doubled since 2009, which shows just how fast the processes of global warming and climate change have become. 

Speaking about the new and alarming data, Mark Drinkwater, mission scientist for the European Space Agency’s CryoSat mission, said that, “These results offer a critical new perspective on the recent impact of climate change on large ice sheets. This is particularly evident in parts of the Antarctic peninsula, where some of the more remarkable features add testimony on the impact of sustained peninsula warming at rates several times the global average.”

And, it’s not just the sea ice in Greenland and Antarctica that’s melting at astonishing rates. Arctic sea ice is melting at unprecedented rates too. In fact, as Gaius Publius pointed out over at America Blog, just about every reputable projection on the loss of Arctic sea ice has been wrong.

The lack of sea ice cover in the Arctic that we’re seeing today wasn’t supposed to happen for 20+ more years according to 13 of the most accurate models. With more and more of our planet’s ice cover melting away at unprecedented rates, the question becomes: "Have we reached a tipping point?"

Have we reached the point where we can no longer hope to slow down or even stop the processes of climate change and global warming, and where do we have to prepare for the ongoing and worsening sea level rises on our coastlines?

The fact is, despite this new and alarming data from the CryoSat-2 probe, we still don’t if we’ve passed a tipping point or not. So, with that being the case, we need to slow down climate change and global warming, to protect our planet's ability to support human life. 

One of those actions that we can take today is to put a carbon tax in place. Putting a price on carbon encourages less fossil fuel extraction and a rapid move to clean and green energy. With even a modest carbon tax—that doesn't even end the subsidies to the big oil, coal, and gas companies - fossil fuels instantly become more expensive than renewables like wind and solar.

A report put out by the Citizens Climate Lobby shows that a $10 carbon tax would cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 28 percent of 2005 levels. That’s 11 percent more than the cut proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Clean Power Plan it announced back in June.

In our documentary Carbon, the first part of a four part series on climate change by Leonardo DiCaprio and yours truly that was released last week, some of the world’s leading climatologists and scientists talk about the importance of a carbon tax. They make it clear that, if we want to save our planet and the human race from the greatest threat we've ever faced, a carbon tax is absolutely essential. 

It’s that simple. 























YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Leonardo DiCaprio Narrates Climate Change Films Urging Shift From Fossil Fuels to Renewables

Earthquake, Drought and Wildfires Ravage California

Five Reasons Climate Deniers Are Dead Wrong

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Shutterstock

September 2017: Earth's 4th Warmest September on Record

By Dr. Jeff Masters

September 2017 was the planet's fourth warmest September since record keeping began in 1880, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and NASA this week. The only warmer Septembers came during 2015, 2016 and 2014. Minor differences can occur between the NASA and NOAA rankings because of their different techniques for analyzing data-sparse regions such as the Arctic.

Keep reading... Show less

Shocking Photo of Dehorned Black Rhino Wins Top Award

Africa loses an average of three rhinos a day to the ongoing poaching crisis and the illegal rhino horn trade. In 2016 alone, 1,054 rhinos were reported killed in South Africa, representing a loss in rhinos of approximately six percent. That's close to the birth rate, meaning the population remains perilously close to the tipping point.

This year, the Natural History Museum in London awarded photographer Brent Stirton the 2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year grand title for his grisly image of a black rhino with its two horns hacked off in South Africa's Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Smallholder agriculture in southern Ethiopia. Smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Leah Samberg

How Climate Change and Wars Are Increasing World Hunger

By Leah Samberg

Around the globe, about 815 million people—11 percent of the world's population—went hungry in 2016, according to the latest data from the United Nations. This was the first increase in more than 15 years.

Between 1990 and 2015, due largely to a set of sweeping initiatives by the global community, the proportion of undernourished people in the world was cut in half. In 2015, UN member countries adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which doubled down on this success by setting out to end hunger entirely by 2030. But a recent UN report shows that, after years of decline, hunger is on the rise again.

Keep reading... Show less
Pixabay

Two Graphs Explain Why California’s Wildfires Will Only Get Worse

By Molly Taft

The deadly wildfires ripping through Northern California are just the latest in a season of record-defying natural disasters in the U.S. As the death toll passes 40, reports of Californians hiding in pools as their houses burn and scenes of devastated homes and vineyards add to 2017's apocalyptic picture of how climate change is impacting America today.

As the Trump administration guts environmental protections and undermines science, California is one of the states leading the way on climate action. Ironically, experts agree the state can expect devastating fires like the ones in Napa to become the new normal. Drier and drier conditions and creeping temperatures in the American Southwest, definitively linked to climate change, serve to create tinderbox conditions for massive, catastrophic fires to explode.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Leonardo DiCaprio / Facebook

Leonardo DiCaprio Invests in Plant-Based Food Company

Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, but eating a burger doesn't have to come with a side of guilt.

Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has invested in Beyond Meat, the makers of the world's first vegan burger that's famously known to look, smell and even taste a lot like the real deal.

Keep reading... Show less
www.facebook.com

Guard Dog Wouldn’t Leave Goat Flock During California Fires—And Lived to Tell the Story

By Andrew Amelinckx

The fire the Hendels barely escaped was part of the Northern California firestorm that has so far claimed 40 lives—including one of their neighbors, Lynne Powell—destroyed countless homes, and caused billions of dollars in damage.

"Later that morning when we had outrun the fires I cried, sure that I had sentenced Odie to death, along with our precious family of bottle-raised goats," Roland Hendel wrote in a recent Facebook post.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate activists Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein shut down Enbridge's tar sands pipelines 4 and 67 in Minnesota on Oct. 11, 2016. Shutitdown.today

Judge Allows Vital 'Necessity Defense' for Climate Activists

By Jessica Corbett

In a decision that is being called "groundbreaking" and "precedent-setting," a district court judge in Minnesota has ruled that he will allow oil pipeline protesters to present a "necessity defense" for charges related to a multi-state action by climate activists last October.

In his decision last week, Judge Robert Tiffany ruled that four activists who participated in the #ShutItDown action—in which pipelines across five states were temporarily disabled, halting the flow of tar sands oil from Canada into the U.S.—may present scientists and other expert witnesses to explain the immediate threat of climate change to justify their action.

Keep reading... Show less
www.youtube.com

Why Are Incarcerated Women Battling California Wildfires for as Little as $1 a Day?

As raging wildfires in California scorch more than 200,000 acres—roughly the size of New York City—more than 11,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, and a number of them are prisoners, including many women inmates.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox