McKibben and Hansen want you — for 10 minutes

Girl writing a letter

Photo: Ralph Unden via Flickr.

Climate crusaders call for personal letters to Congress for green dividend plan.

Since cap-and-trade died in Congress this summer, does that mean the US won’t see legislation to fight climate disruption anytime soon?

That’s what Ryan Lizza wrote in the New Yorker last week in a depressing piece about why the energy and climate bill failed in the Senate. While an unlikely Three Amigos coalition of Democrat John Kerry, Independent Joe Lieberman and Republican Lindsay Graham used all their considerable horse-trading skill to cobble together a compromise that would escape the ire of the Chamber of Commerce and which could get 60 votes in the Senate,  the Obama White House helped torpedo the bill for political reasons.

Just as well. By its end, the bill was so watered-down that it was unlikely to slow greenhouse gas emissions much if at all. Critics such as NASA climatologist James Hansen even claimed that cap-and-trade would make global warming worse, and charged that the only party that stood to gain was industry — the traders at Goldman Sachs who would earn big commissions by helping polluters game the system, and those polluters themselves who would enjoy all sorts of exceptions, exclusions, delays and other ways to weasel out of cutting their carbon.

Now, a group led by Hansen and Bill McKibben is pushing a new campaign for citizens to lobby Congress to revisit climate legislation, the Million Letter March. But this time, instead of the failed cap-and-trade, the idea is for fee-and-dividend. It’s a system that’s much simpler and more fair. Washington insiders have pooh poohed it for years, saying that it’s un-passable. But then, those are the same insiders who said that cap-and-trade was the only thing that could pass.

The smart money was wrong before. They’ll be wrong again. Maybe it’s time to stop listening to the cynical politicos who say we should take what we can get, and instead start pushing for what will really work?

Check out the video and then write that letter.

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