Chieko Hara, The Porterville Recorder
In this Nov. 16, 2018, file photo, commuters ride a new zero emission electric buses in Porterville, Calif.

I was inspired and uplifted by Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s vision for leadership in his recent opinion in The Washington Post:

“A president should unite us and inspire us to follow our better angels. A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable.”

It gave me hope. Hope for healing, hope for solutions, hope for the future. Right now, there is a bill in both the House and the Senate that also inspires hope. It’s the Energy Innovation and Carbon Divide Act. It could be the perfect bridge to get our government working toward healing our divided nation, while protecting our economy, our families, our air and our future.

Let’s look at the way that climate change threatens our American values of leadership, strength and independence. Currently, as Sen. Romney points out, America is withdrawing from our leadership role on the world stage, especially on climate. Yet, according to the Department of Defense, climate change is a “threat multiplier,” aggravating violence and the spread of disease and inflaming the fatalistic promises of extremists. Additionally, in 2018, we saw thousands of people lose their financial security and independence as their homes were destroyed by fire storms and super storms.

Closer to home, it’s winter in the Wasatch Front and we all breathe hazardous air polluted by burning fossil fuels. I’m healthy and active, but I have asthma. It was easily controlled until I moved to Salt Lake. Recently, as the air index rose above 150, I almost called 911 twice. Like me, the health of many Utahns is at risk from the consequences of a damaged climate.

People feel overwhelmed and hopeless when considering the climate crisis. I believe that it’s a crisis that calls us “to our better angels,” calls on the “greatness of the American spirit.” I believe that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is a way to answer both of those calls.

Why? First, because the Energy Innovation Act would be a climate game changer, reducing carbon by 40 percent in 12 years. Second, it would be good for people. As EICDA encouraged America’s economic engine and ingenuity to convert to and capitalize on clean energy by placing a small but increasing fee on carbon pollution, it returns a monthly dividend check to every America household. Third, it’s good for the economy. Over 10 years it would add 2.1 million new clean energy jobs. Finally, it is revenue neutral, and would reduce regulation. The Energy Innovation Act is effective, good for people, good for the economy, it’s revenue neutral, and the bill already enjoys bipartisan support.

5 comments on this story

This is our America. Land of brains, brawn and invention. Why is it we have such little choice about our air? We invented choice. We’re brilliant technologists. We can solve this crisis by sending a consistent signal to the market to innovate.

Let’s call on Sens. Romney and Lee, and Congressmen Bishop, Stewart, McAdams and Curtis, to co-sponsor the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act when it’s re-introduced in 2019. Utahns know that climate change is exacerbated by burning fossil fuels and many support federal regulation of carbon pollution. You will have our support, our applause and our continued blessings if you take a stand to heal our air and safeguard our economy and our shores.