Climate change is real and we need effective, efficient solutions to it — fast. It is very unfortunate that what’s on offer is either inaction, non-solutions like banning fracking , counterproductive measures like closing existing nuclear plants, or phantasms like the Green New Deal, which are so tangled with other concerns that they will not result in action for years or decades if ever.
Fortunately there are measures we can take to cut emissions immediately, and which offer benefits even if you don’t believe in climate change or believe we need a Green New Deal.
No brainer #1: raises pollution taxes such as the gas tax. More expensive gas will lead to less gas consumption and pollution as it always does. It will also give zero-emissions energy sources an even greater price advantage, spurring more adoption. Note: gas tax money should NOT be a source of funds to build more highways. It should be used to pay down debt or offset other taxes.
No brainer #2: cut subsidies to all fossil fuel energy sources
No brainer #3: get rid of farm subsidies. Agriculture is a huge polluter
No brainer #4: drastically cut spending on the military, another huge polluter
Even if you don’t believe in climate change, pollution taxes have benefits which will pay for themselves. Carbon monooxide is real, as is nitrous oxide, sulfur oxide, and particulate matter. Would you rather be paying a gas tax or for healthcare associated with asthma and heart and pulmonary disease, especially when the patient might be you or a loved one?
Market-based pollution pricing in no way prevents additional environmental legislation later. So even if you believe something like a Green New Deal is the ultimate answer, pollution prices buys more of the very limited time we have to consider those measures.