A representative from Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) out of Bayfield came to the full county board of supervisors last week to give information on the group’s efforts to combat climate change.
Mark Peterson is a member of the Bayfield chapter of the climate change was on the agenda. He was asking the board to consider drafting, signing and sending a resolution to the United States Congress supporting H.R. 763.
Peterson explained the idea is that because Congress over the last decade has moved very slowly on climate change and the CCL is going with a local approach. They already have dozens of local governments across the country endorsing the bill including Ashland, Bayfield and Sawyer counties along with the cities of Wausau, Stevens Point and Rice Lake in Wisconsin.
The first line of H.R. 763 states the bill is designed, “to create a carbon dividend trust fund for the American people in order to encourage market-driven innovation of clean energy technologies and market efficiencies which will reduce harmful pollution and leave a healthier, more stable, and more prosperous nation for future generations.”
H.R. 763 was first introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives a year ago on Jan. 24, 2019.
Carbon is currently not taxed and this bill would change that. Peterson said that carbon will now be taxed to cut down on carbon pollution.
Under the bill, as currently written, will tax every ton of Carbon at $15 per ton and it is expected to go up $10 per ton after the first year.
In turn the American people will receive a tax dividend, similar to social security. The CCL predicts the average household will receive about $45 a month in the first year. Then by the fifth year estimates show the average household will get a check of $225 every month and at the ten year mark they are estimating $300 per month.
After discussing the dividend program he spoke to the extreme weather that has occurred over the last decade.
“There have been two 500 years flooding events in the last few years,” Peterson said. “July 2016 and June 2018 were record events of rainfall.”
He added 2019 was the wettest year in Wisconsin since the statistic was measured in 1890, the second hottest year on the planet and was the hottest year for the planet’s oceans.
“Four of the last five wettest years in the state’s history took place in the last decade,” Peterson said. “Something is happening here.”
Peterson also cited the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) data on the potential effects of rising temperatures including the state may see three 500-year type style storms a year. The WICCI data shows from 1950 to 2006 winter average temperatures rose about four degrees in Burnett County. WICCI predicts that average temperature could rise another eight degrees by 2055.
Supervisor Gene Olson questioned Peterson’s possible alarmist attitude at climate change and the comparison to social security.
“We only have about a couple hundred years of information about (planet temperatures),” Olson said. “My grandkids aren’t going to have social security and that’s the foundation for this plan.”
Supervisor Gary Lundberg said, “The devil is always in the details and I think we need to read this bill before we go forward with anything.”