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Climate change should be a bridge, rather than a wedge issue

President Donald Trump recently tweeted: “Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen.”

However, it’s important to take note of a 2015 issue of the U.S. Forest Service’s journal, Fire Management Today titled “Climate Change: The Future is Here.” This publication states that “Increasing temperatures and changes in precipitation and snowmelt patterns are increasing the severity and size of wildfires in the West.” Concern is also expressed about the “occurrence of fire that is outside the range of our existing experience” and the danger this poses to firefighters and communities.

Hotter temperatures evaporate soil moisture and dry vegetation, making it more likely to burn. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that, over the last three decades, human-caused climate change has doubled the area affected by forest fires in the Western United States.

Climate change should be a bridge, rather than a wedge issue. I’m heartened that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act was introduced in both the House and Senate during the last session, the first bipartisan climate bill in nearly a decade. It’s expected to be reintroduced in the new Congress.

This legislation will put a steadily rising fee on oil, coal and natural gas and return the money equally to people, helping low and middle income Americans. A border carbon adjustment on imports from countries that don’t price carbon similarly would protect American businesses and encourage other nations to adopt their own carbon pricing systems to gain access to valuable U.S. markets.

Let’s thank Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Florida; Francis Rooney, R-Florida; Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, and their colleagues for sponsoring this bill and urge our own members of Congress to support their courageous action.

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