March 1st, 2018
An Urgent Call for Climate Action
Dr. Mark Vossler is a practicing cardiologist and the co-chair of WPSR's Climate & Health Task Force.
I am deeply disappointed in our state legislature in their failure to pass a bill putting a price on carbon emissions during the 2018 legislative session. This in soccer terms is the striker (the legislature) losing their nerve in front of the goal and dropping the ball to the midfield (grassroots activists). We need to keep possession and work it back up with the goal in mind. The bill did go the furthest a carbon tax measure has ever gone before - a promising signal that our leaders know Washingtonians are ready for action.
This heightens the importance of our work with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy (AJCE). Getting an initiative passed will take a concentrated and persistent effort over the next nine months. Time is not on our side. The human effects of climate change are being felt right now by real people in real time. Those that have the fewest resources to adapt are being hit the hardest. Heat related illness, vector borne diseases, extreme weather events, famine, respiratory and cardiovascular illness, fetal demise and developmental delay all loom large. We face nothing short of the unraveling of our entire civilization over the next two to three generations if we fail to act now. We need to commit serious effort into getting a carbon tax initiative passed.
The majority of economists studying energy policy agree that a price on emissions is key to moving our economy off of dirty unhealthy fossil fuels and on to clean renewable energy. The price of our energy needs to reflect the true cost to society. Any method of rectifying this must correct for the regressive nature of consumption taxes and assist low-income communities. The AJCE proposal is very similar to the bill that didn’t pass the legislature but stronger in terms of price impact and assistance to low-income communities. We need your commitment in gathering signatures, phone banking, public speaking and general raising of awareness between now and November. The health care voice is strong. It resonates with the public. It gives necessary meaning to the movement. We need all of us to step up and do our part.
Mark Vossler, MD
Co-chair Climate and Health Task Force
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility