Intervention is needed

Nothing is more American than suspicion about government intervention. However, where climate change is concerned, it’s absolutely necessary.

The private sector has had the opportunity to address climate change for decades and has, at worst, lobbied against necessary change or, at best, done the bare minimum of greenwashing needed to assuage customer guilt. Corporations will ultimately only do what serves the bottom line. They won’t reduce emissions because they have no incentive to. That’s how businesses work, and we should expect no different.

Even if a private enterprise did want to do right by the planet, doing so on their own would put them at a competitive disadvantage by making their products more expensive than those of their competitors. They’d be punished for their benevolence. As such, the only way to drive meaningful change is through legislation that puts the same burdens and expectations on all players in a sector (including importers) so that none suffers a relative disadvantage.

Releasing pollutants into the atmosphere lets a company keep their profits while foisting the associated costs onto the public. Unless it becomes more expensive to pollute than not, companies are going to pollute. To expect otherwise is to be deliberately naïve. And the only way to make polluting unacceptably expensive is through legislatively enforced consequences.

If we leave it up to the wealthy and powerful to choose between their money and the health of the planet, the planet will die. While we need private enterprises to innovate the systems and technologies that will heal the planet, they won’t do so unless motivated by profit or compelled by law. The government needs to establish these strong incentives and deterrents now because waiting for profit-seeking entities to do the right thing on their own is to choose a path of guaranteed failure.

Ryan Urie

Moscow

Voices matter

Oh, my! Kathy Weber clearly misread my letter (“Conversation needed,” Nov. 11). As its editor-approved title suggests, the main point was to encourage local government leaders to convene a community conversation. There’s nothing sinister about that.

In her letter of response (“Explanation needed,” Nov. 17), the writer went on at length about religious freedom, although I made no mention of it in my letter. The writer seems to assume that the issues of concern that I listed warrant my justification. They don’t. She missed my secondary point that those concerns exist, and the people who expressed them deserve to be heard, not whether she or I share their concerns or think they are valid. I listed issues that others expressed during the 2021 campaign season. For those paying attention, they were brought up by candidates and members of the public in news articles, letters to the editor, social media, candidate forums, printed and digital campaign materials, coffee klatch conversations, public testimony and direct interaction with candidates. I suggest the writer reviews those records and recollections for the answers she seeks.

I sincerely hope that a community conversation happens, and that Kathy attends. Moscow has a proud reputation as an inclusive place, where everyone’s voice matters.

Nancy Chaney

Moscow

Embarrassing

It is hysterically funny how people — ordinary folk, Republican politicians, some famous people (like Aaron Rodgers), and right-wing conservatives are now using terms like “woke,” “cancel culture” and “critical race theory” and none of them has the faintest idea about what those terms mean. They are just parroting Fox News.

Academics in cultural studies have conducted research for years in the area of critical race theory — but they actually know what the terms mean. None of the people I’ve seen or have read about who use those terms, including letters to the editor and Fox News, knows what they are talking about.

I said it was hysterically funny, but it really is hysterically embarrassing for them (and the U.S.). Stop using those terms, people — because you don’t know what they mean. It makes you appear very ignorant.

And commanding what is or is not taught in schools is censorship — which is what dictatorships do, not democracies.

Darcy Miller

Pullman

Implement carbon price

This year again we’ve seen more frequent extreme climate-driven events right here in our Pacific Northwest — drought, wildfires, heat waves, floods, landslides and more. Climate change is a crisis we are all facing, and it is caused by human-generated greenhouse gases. This is widely accepted.

What is more difficult is knowing what to do to curb climate change. One of the tools that many developed economies are using is a price on carbon.

Thousands (yes, literally thousands) of economists support a carbon price as an effective tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a short period of time. Even the American Petroleum Institute supports a carbon price. This makes sense because the alternative, ad hoc regulations that may change between administrations, would be harder for industry to deal with than a predictable pricing scenario. A carbon price would reduce emissions effectively and quickly across the economy. In addition, if a carbon price is combined with a dividend, the revenue would come back to U.S. households to spend as they want.

Please take a minute to write to your senators, representative, and President Biden. This is easily done at citizensclimatelobby.org/get-loud-take-action/ on the national Citizens’ Climate Lobby website. Let them know you want a carbon price now. Thank you so much for your time and your voice.

Margaret Davis

Moscow

Promoting plague

Majority Republicans in the Idaho House apparently weren’t content with conducting the worst regular session in several decades. They then called themselves back into session — ordinarily the governor’s prerogative — to pass several bills making it harder to protect Idahoans from a persistent plague that has already killed more than 600,000 Americans.

And 5th District Rep. Brandon Mitchell of Moscow was there to help them do it.

Mitchell not only supported a wide range of assaults on vaccination and protective masks before the Senate blocked the reckless GOP clown car. He voted for bills several other Republicans — including fellow Rep. Caroline Troy and even House Speaker Scott Bedke — opposed.

One provided, according to a senior vice president at St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center, “a blanket exemption for people to decline to comply with a condition of employment,” including testing for illegal drug use.

Troy voted no. Mitchell voted yes.

Another prohibited employers from seeking their workers’ vaccination status because, according to sponsor Ron Mendive of Coeur d’Alene, quack treatments like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are better options. When Mendive was told the attorney general’s office was concerned such a measure might jeopardize Idaho’s share of federal Medicare and Medicaid funding, he responded, “That’s the nature of tyranny, actually.”

Troy and Bedke voted no. Mitchell voted yes.

The list goes on. So does this question for Mitchell’s constituents: When he asks you to return him to office, will you vote yes or no?

Jim Fisher

Moscow

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