Your Opinion: Climate change and political instability

Dear Editor:

If there is anything positive about Syria, it may be that progressive and conservative citizens on both sides of the issue have influenced our president and representatives.

We shouldn’t have been surprised that Syria, with 1.5 million people displaced by one of the worst long-term droughts in modern history, was ripe for civil unrest. The Pentagon has recognized for some time that climate change is a “threat multiplier” for instability in volatile regions.

Now, while we pause the bomb button, is it possible for conservatives and progressives to discuss climate change? Maybe. A Facebook post by a liberal friend just lifted my expectations.

She said, “I agree with this economic advisor to Bush. If we agree, why can’t the option be explored?” She was referencing a New York Times article, “A carbon tax America could live with,” by Gregory Mankiw, an economics professor at Harvard who advised George W. Bush.

The timing of my friend’s question is relevant because on Sept. 18, the House’s Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing to examine Obama’s climate plan. An opportunity will be missed if the focus is only about partisan divide rather than bipartisan solutions.

Representatives Vicky Hartzler and Blaine Luetkemeyer should ask the hearing organizers to invite leading experts to testify about the science on climate change and Mankiw’s conservative solution. Other conservatives who could testify on a revenue-neutral carbon tax include Andrew Maylan, R Street Institute; Art Laffer, Reagan economic advisor; Gary Becker, conservative Nobel laureate economist; and George Shultz, Reagan Secretary of State.

On the science: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is about to release its fifth report, in which the certainty that humans are causing the earth to warm has increased to 95 percent. Katharine Hayhoe, IPCC reviewer at Texas Tech, would be an excellent expert to testify.

In a 2007 report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan said time had arrived to address climate change. “If we wait for 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield,” he said.

As a member of Citizens Climate Lobby, I am one of 3,500 citizens who believe our voices can be heard over the dollars of special interest. We ask that our representatives listen to the scientists and seek bipartisan legislation to address climate change.

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