Letters to the Editor

A conservative solution to climate change

Who could have predicted that in these contentious times we would awake on Wednesday morning to find editorials in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in agreement on the necessity and best form of solution to the problem of climate change? Just when many were expecting conservatives to be taking a victory lap, some have, instead, soberly proposed a carbon fee and dividend as the right national solution.

In the Journal, two eminent former secretaries of state, George P. Shultz and James A. Baker III, explained the simple power of the fee-and-dividend solution, and in the Times, two former chairs of the president’s council of economic advisers who served Republican presidents joined another writer to roll out the compelling case for fee-and-dividend.

Two key things are worth noting about this surprising agreement. First, the impulse to solve the climate change problem is here rooted in the tradition of President Ronald Reagan, who in this case has inspired people who served on his team to take a pragmatic approach and champion the fee-and-dividend solution.

Second, and even more important, both of these editorials proposed, as their titles proclaimed, a “conservative” way to deal with the problem. Too often we think of climate change as a problem pointed to by radicals who want radical solutions. That clearly is not so. It is simply a problem. And conservatives, as it turns out, can endorse a solution that people of all political points of view can find attractive.

Sylvia Neely, State College

Sylvia Neely is group leader of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, State College.