Opinion

Make the oil companies that profited from climate change denial pay for disaster relief

To the editor: The three super storms that have been and are pummeling the United States and Caribbean islands should be a wake-up call not just for climate change policies, but also responsibility. (“Nature isn't on a rampage. That would be us,” Opinion, Sept. 10)

Who should pay for the damages, cleanup and restoration? The usual source is, of course, taxpayers.

As you have reported, fossil-fuel companies have conducted a campaign of denial and deception about climate change. Their products’ release of massive amounts of greenhouse gasses heat up the atmosphere and oceans, leading to bigger, more frequent and more powerful storms. But instead of investing heavily in new clean energy, they funded denial so they could squeeze more profits out of their polluting products.

These companies should be the responsible party in funding disaster relief. Letting taxpayers pick up the tab again amounts to a massive subsidy for more emissions.

A fee collected on carbon, with the revenues paid out in dividends to all households, would be a good start. Also, an escrow fund financed by fossil-fuel companies to pay for storm damages would be a more fair way to help pay for their sins.

Michael Hetz, Encinitas

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To the editor: My heart goes out to those who have suffered from Hurricane Irma.

Two years ago, it was reported that Florida Gov. Rick Scott forbade the use of the terms “climate change” and “global warming” from appearing in any government report. Will Irma cause him to reevaluate the role of global warming?

The only defense we have against these nuclear weather assaults is to change our behavior. If a governor won’t even let scientists in his state discuss it, we will pay an enormous price in life and treasure in the long run.

Thomas Smith, Glendale

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To the editor: Scott doesn’t believe the science behind climate change and in fact instituted an unofficial state policy against using the terms “global warming” and “climate change.”

Mother Nature didn’t get the memo.

You can stick your head in the sand, Gov. Scott, but we still see you.

Debra Kaufman, Venice

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