Washington congressional candidate Dave Wilson said he sees many parallels between America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

When speaking to the Palouse chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby on Thursday, he said the U.S. has taken an “ostrich approach” to both issues by ignoring the problem instead of taking a proactive approach.

Wilson, who is running against Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to represent Washington’s 5th District, said that needs to change.

“Proactive prevention policies are always far more effective and less expensive than reactive approaches,” he said.

He said there needs to be a national plan to address climate change rather than leaving it up to the states. Additionally, the U.S. needs to be acting with the international community.

He noted that the Trump administration wanting to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization parallels the U.S. removing itself from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Wilson said if elected he will support the bipartisan carbon fee legislation endorsed by Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would impose a fee on fossil fuels at the point of extraction. That money would be allocated on a monthly basis to Americans to spend as they see fit. The government does not keep the money.

About two-thirds of those who receive these carbon dividends would receive more than enough to offset their increased cost, according to information on the Citizens’ Climate Lobby website.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is intended to cut America’s emissions by 40 percent in the first 12 years and grow the economy.

“I think it’s a common sense plan, and I would totally get behind it when elected,” Wilson said.

He said it would incentivize consumers to take action against pollution and does not believe it will hurt the economy.

Wilson, a Democrat, said he supports bipartisan legislation because it endures longer than partisan legislation. In an effort to reach across party lines, Wilson said he will join the Problem Solvers Caucus, which is a group of representatives equally divided between Republicans and Democrats aiming to work together on issues.

Wilson said he believes there are fewer climate change skeptics largely because the increase in storms and wildfires is evidence of a changing climate.

“I hope this isn’t a picture of the future but, to those of us who are not in denial, it’s obvious something’s changing in our forests and our weather, and we need to do something,” he said. “The time for talk has passed.”

McMorris Rodgers was invited to speak to the lobby Thursday, but she had a scheduling conflict.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.

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