April 22 is Earth Day. What does that mean in 2021?

I know, based on Mark Schleifstein's article from April 9 that weather experts are predicting another active hurricane season this year, and I see the continued struggles of people in our community in dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes Laura and Delta. I am a mom of three children in elementary and middle school, and I want a future for them with clean air and water and as few natural disasters as possible.

The majority of people accept the fact that our climate is changing, but we don't have consensus on what to do about it. It may seem like the only options are to either do nothing or implement the Green New Deal from the left.

However, there is a centrist climate proposal that I don't think enough people know about: The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividends Act. "Search it up" online (as my kids say) for more details. I've been studying it recently, and it would greatly reduce carbon emissions just by putting a fee on them.

I learned there's a lot of variation in emissions levels when it comes to oil extraction. Oil extraction in Louisiana and Texas, for example, has a carbon emission level a lot lower than extraction from the oil sands in Canada. So this plan would mean an increase in demand for oil and natural gas from our region.

Yes, putting a fee on carbon would increase the price of gas and utilities, but the "carbon dividends" part of the plan means direct payments to the American people, which would offset the price increase. It's like when you go to Aldi for groceries: you have to pay a quarter to get a shopping cart. But when you put the cart back, you get the quarter back, too.

This plan isn't perfect. The right calls it government intervention into the free market (even though this is a squarely market-based solution). The left doesn't think it's comprehensive enough.

Remember the "Stranger Things" episode when Hopper won't let Eleven go trick-or-treating? Rather than staying home with nothing, though, he proposes bringing home a lot of candy and a scary movie. It's a compromise, he says.

Eleven is confused, and Hopper explains, "it's something that's kind of in-between; it's like halfway happy."

A lot of people, left, right and center, know climate change is a problem. I think we need to come together and be prepared, for future generations' sake, to compromise and be halfway happy for the next few years so that the climate crisis isn't a lot worse in the long term.

CLANCY RATLIFF

professor

Lafayette