I read Matthew Yglesias’ Sept. 17 column about the climbing costs of solar and wind projects, as well as a possible labor shortage, and think that part of the solution is in a carbon fee imposed on oil, natural gas and coal.

These are the fuels we need to replace if human beings are going to keep the planet habitable. Revenues could easily keep clean energy projects on track and put some money back into consumers’ pockets.

Whenever the costs of clean energy are brought up, the high pollution costs of hydrocarbon fuels are very rarely discussed. How much do the additional wildfires, massive flooding and stronger hurricanes cost us every year? Shouldn’t the producers of carbon dioxide-emitting fuels be made to cover some of those costs? Climate-fueled disasters cost the U.S. $165 billion in 2022, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; however, researchers writing for the journal Nature put the costs as much, much higher.

Arguing over numbers, however, misses the point. If your doctor prescribes a lifesaving procedure, is your first question going to be, “How much will it cost?” It may be part of the discussion, but unfortunately we, as humans, have frittered away valuable time in dealing with the climate problem. Now is a time for action.

David Witherill

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