Allocate clean vehicle funds
Re “Four ways to gear up on climate change” (Editorials, Dec. 20): The Sacramento Bee’s editorial hit on four important ways that California can accelerate the needed transition to zero-emission cars. Another key ingredient to reducing transportation emissions lies in the freight sector, because the trucks, trains and ships that move goods through our state spew toxic diesel exhaust that is damaging human health and changing our climate.
Cleaner technologies are being developed and deployed in small numbers today, but funding for these solutions is caught in the same budget gridlock that plagues the clean-car incentives that the editorial board rightly suggests need bolstering.
Gov. Jerry Brown should make it a priority to work with legislative leaders to wrap up the unfinished business of this year’s budget and allocate the remaining $260 million in clean-vehicle funding that he, along with the Senate and Assembly, have proposed spending but not actually passed.
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In addition to cleaning up vehicles, the state also should support broader transportation choices by making public transit, biking and walking more convenient and accessible.
Bill Magavern, Sacramento
National price on carbon needed
The great editorial about how California can meet our aggressive climate goals might also have mentioned a big factor holding back global progress on climate solutions: No one is paying an honest price for fossil fuels.
The price of oil, gas and coal does not reflect the current and future damage to our health, economy and national security. To correct that market failure, the U.S. government should collect a fee from the producers and importers of oil, gas and coal based on the carbon content of those fuels.
The money should be used for the public good. One choice is to send all the money in equal payments to all American taxpaying households, a method called carbon fee and dividend. California cannot do this job alone – Congress must act to implement an effective, equitable and efficient national price on carbon.
Jennifer Wood, Sacramento
Carbon fee would push market forces
A gradually escalating carbon fee levied on gasoline, diesel and other fossil fuels, with all money returned as a dividend to consumer households, would harness the power of the market to meet the four goals enumerated in The Bee’s editorial.
Fair pricing of carbon, coupled with gradually increasing dividend checks, will provide California drivers with the incentives they need to demand new plug-in and electric vehicles and charging stations, while providing a new level of certainty and predictability for California business.
The fee and dividend as proposed by the Citizens Climate Lobby will use market forces in the battle against climate change. It will stimulate the economy by putting money back in the pockets of consumers. By letting the market do the job, California might need fewer new climate regulations and subsidies going forward.
Mark Aulman, Woodland
5th way to gear up on climate change
The Bee’s editorial provides four ways to encourage car buyers to move away from gas hogs and into ZEVs and hybrids. The move toward large trucks and SUVs is motivated in large part by lower gasoline prices. Low gasoline prices are forecast well into 2016.
Climate change puts us in a race to get off fossil fuels before the accumulation of greenhouse gases causes irreversible environmental disasters. We need to be accelerating the move away from gasoline, not watching it slow down.
So a fifth way to gear up for climate change is a carbon fee and dividend. A gradually rising carbon fee will tell consumers that the price of gasoline at the pump will be continually rising. Returning all the funds collected to consumers, as a dividend, will deflect their resistance to the carbon fee.
Harold Ferber, Elk Grove
Examine causes of refugee crisis
Re “A little boy and the refugee crisis” (Op Image, Dec. 23): Editorial writer Foon Rhee chastises European and American nations for limiting the number of refugees accepted from war-ravaged countries. He cites internment of Japanese, refusal of Jewish refugees and the hesitation to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees as examples of an immoral national policy. But the issues of what causes refugees need to be examined.
The child in the Mediterranean is no more sorrowful than the millions of innocents slaughtered by endless regimes throughout history. What are the causes? What are the responsibilities of nations to respond? Every nation has a limited amount of money and space to accept refugees.
If we don’t address the causes, then the remedies won’t be found. What if the red line in Syria had been dealt with immediately? There are so many issues involved, and for Rhee to blame Republicans and right-wing bigots shows an abundance of emotional pandering.
Sanders’ tax hike mislabeled
Re “Tax increase: Sanders Clause” (Forum, The Drawing Board, Dec. 20): Jerry Holbert’s editorial cartoon about presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is all wrong. “Tax increase” leaves too much unsaid. Sanders calls for a $1.60 a week tax to cover paid family medical leave, but he proposes Medicare for all to eliminate health care premiums.
This is reclaiming our fair share of the common good that has been sucked up by health care gougers and corporate greed. Let’s get back to fair dues for all and stop framing the issues purely as tax hikes.
Bill Trzeciak, Penn Valley
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