LETTER TO THE EDITOR: What Putin’s war tells us

Letter to the Editor

The current war in the Ukraine highlights a critical issue that needs to be urgently addressed by our government, starting with our Congressman, Tom Reed.

As a lifelong Republican the war highlights for me the vulnerability of the U.S. and the world to fossil fuel price manipulation and blackmail.

1. Despite the fact that the U.S. is a net energy exporter, the price of our gasoline and natural gas follow the price of the world market, as can be vividly seen at the gas pump today.

2. In addition, despite the fact that Putin has invaded a sovereign country, and the world has applied significant sanctions against Russia, Europe continues to buy oil and gas from Russia, essentially funding this unprovoked invasion — because they have to! Both in the short term and intermediate term, they have few options.

For me as a grandfather, it highlights the U.S.’s and world’s current reliance on fossil fuels and its impact on the world my grandchildren will be left with.

1. With all the extreme weather: droughts, wildfires, tornadoes, flooding, including here in the Finger Lakes, there is no doubt that climate change, triggered by our ongoing use of fossil fuels, will have a dramatically negative impact on the world our grandchildren will inherit.

2. The question is only how bad will it get.

Following is a quote from Svitlana Krakovska that puts this in perspective. Svitlana is a Ukrainian scientist who is a member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“As Russian bombs began to fall on Ukraine, I started to think about the parallels between climate change and this war and it’s clear that the roots of both these threats to humanity are found in fossil fuels, burning oil, gas and coal is causing warming and impacts we need to adapt to. And Russia sells these resources and uses the money to buy weapons. Other countries are dependent upon these fossil fuels; they don’t make themselves free of them. This is a fossil fuel war. It’s clear we cannot continue to live this way; it will destroy our civilization."

So the question is not, “Should we transition off of fossil fuels?” The only answer to that is “yes.” Indeed, the E.U. is already taking steps in this direction, spurred by Russia’s attack. The question now is how can the U.S. make the transition?

As a member of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, or CCL, I believe that the best way to address this issue and speed up the process is a well-designed price on carbon — which the U.S. Senate is already seriously discussing.

1. Imposing a steadily increasing carbon price would speed the transition to cleaner energy options throughout the entire economy, from the biggest industries down to individual consumer choices.

2. The revenue from the carbon price can be allocated to Americans as a regular dividend or “carbon cashback,” protecting Americans from higher costs and fighting against inflation.

3. A border carbon adjustment can be used to impose international pressure, which would break the grip of oil states like Russia. The E.U. is already planning to implement a tariff like this, and Republicans in Congress are expressing support for a similar idea.

For an excellent discussion on this issue, please follow this link to a piece done by Madeleine Para, the Executive Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby: https://bit.ly/Breaking_Russian_Hold

Rick Thompson

Penn Yan

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letter writers are responsible for making sure the information they submit is accurate and factual.