What Kind of Nation?
To the editor:
With national politics dominating both print and electronic media these days, three important issues have generally escaped popular scrutiny:
Guantanamo. The prison’s annual cost is $540 million, more than $13 million for each of its 40 prisoners. Shouldn’t the prison be shut down and its inmates transferred to a maximum-security facility in the U.S. (where the cost would be less than $80,000 per prisoner)? Are we content with the failed military commissions?
Southern Border. Visitors report that border patrol authorities continue to separate families and hold children in cages. How many migrant children remain separated from their parents and languish in for-profit prisons?
War Zones. The U.S. has failed to join 160 nations in banning land mines and cluster bombs, which cause death and serious injury (especially to children and farm workers) even years after a war has ended. Should the U.S. military continue to buy and stockpile weapons that cause death and mutilation even years after a war has ended? Shouldn’t the manufacture and sale of such dangerous arms be prohibited?
The current political campaign is a good time to ask what kind of nation (and world) we want for our children and grandchildren.
L. Michael Hager
For Climate Action
To the editor:
The Mass. Senate recently passed three ambitious climate change bills, S.2476, S.2477, and S.2478, and sent them to the House. Sen. Julian Cyr was instrumental in their passage.
Meanwhile, the Provincetown Select Board has introduced a warrant article proposing a town climate action committee.
In western Massachusetts many rural residents without adequate public transportation support the carbon fees in Mass. House Bill 2810, “An act to support green infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions.” Most of the revenue generated would be rebated to citizens and businesses, with the remainder going to a green infrastructure fund for municipalities and individuals. Like the senate bills, it advances Gov. Baker’s stated goal of net zero emissions for Massachusetts by 2050.
On Dec. 1 the Truro Select Board voted unanimously to support H.2810.
Baker is a prime mover in the Transportation Climate Initiative, a regional cap and invest system to reduce traffic congestion and improve public transportation while lowering greenhouse gas emissions in an equitable way. Future enactment of the TCI is accommodated in the senate bills.
The catch: all of these initiatives come with a cost.
Taking personal responsibility for fossil fuel use entails accepting carbon fees, an easy and relatively painless first step. But such fees are politically unpopular, as they can be labeled a gas tax.
Carbon fees needn’t be regressive. Industries like fishing can receive rebates that offset increased fuel costs, and businesses affected by competition from border states without these fees could also.
The Senate climate bills deserve our support, but they could be improved by adding a funding mechanism. We can’t wait if we want to reduce emissions to 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2030, let alone achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Urge your senator, representative, and fellow citizens to support this legislation.