Friday, March 05, 2021

Help Gianforte fight climate change

| February 3, 2021 7:00 AM

In reading Governor Gianforte’s recent State of the State address, I appreciated his emphasis on getting our Montana economy going again with the opening of businesses and with good-paying jobs.

He told a story about his trip with fellow students to Montana 45 years ago with a beloved 9th grade teacher and how that influenced him to make Montana his home. That visit included a hike to Grasshopper Glacier in the Crazies. With the rapid rise in Montana’s average temperature over the decades our glaciers are disappearing faster than they would without climate change. Today Grasshopper “Glacier” is a few icy remnants tucked in the cirque of Iceberg Peak.

Montana’s temperature is rising from decades of burning fossil fuels — coal, natural gas, oil - which add extra carbon dioxide to our atmosphere. Gradually, year by year, like adding a fresh coat of paint to the siding of an old house, carbon dioxide has built up, trapping more heat. Unfortunately we cannot scrape away carbon dioxide like we can layers of old paint so we must innovate.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently stated market-based approaches to climate change create huge business opportunities. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is an example. A fee on fossil fuel producers will drive innovation. Citizens will receive money from the fees to freely spend as we wish. Montana has a treasure trove of wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal. With homegrown high tech businesses like ViZN Energy Systems and Gordon Butte Pumped Hydro, Montana could create good-paying jobs. Cash-in-pocket from carbon dividends creates customers for our businesses.

Ask Congressman Rosendale, and Senators Tester and Daines to support the Energy Innovation Act to help our Governor create good-paying jobs for Montanans and grow our businesses.

Robin Poane