Letter to the editor: Recognizing the social cost of carbon starting right here in Summit | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Recognizing the social cost of carbon starting right here in Summit

Carbon dioxide levels hit 415 parts per million this year, the most in human history, according to the Maua Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

At higher levels, carbon dioxide can cause respiratory and nervous system issues as it displaces oxygen in the atmosphere.

Increases in C02 can increase yields of crops like corn and wheat, though more is not always better. According to a Jan. 23, 2018, Scientific American article, “rising CO2’s effect on crops could also harm human health.” “We know unequivocally that when you grow food at elevated CO2 levels in fields, it becomes less nutritious,” notes Samuel Myers, principal research scientist in environmental health at Harvard University.

Higher average temperatures increase severe wildfire risk to our forested watersheds that harm our water and recreation assets, adversely affecting human health through pollutants and less outdoor activity.

It’s so injurious to human and economic health that there’s now a social cost of carbon at roughly $50 per ton, a measure of the economic damages from emitting one ton of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The risks are high, and that is why I fully support local action and scalable global solutions starting with High Country Conservation Center’s Climate Action Plan adapted by Summit County and the towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon and Silverthorne.

Call the conservation center to schedule a home or business energy audit and learn about the solar programs available.

Let policy makers know that the social cost of carbon should be considered in planning projects, particularly in the area of transportation, a leading emitter, and in forest health projects, as well.

An investor can also have a major influence by lowering the carbon in their portfolio by sourcing greener alternatives.

Our community wins by recognizing there is a cost to carbon. Take each step starting with Summit County.

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