This winter, residents along the Wasatch front were reminded almost daily of the price we pay for burning fossil fuels. The smog that we created and had to breathe came from our own tailpipes and smokestacks. Many short-term solutions to this historic air pollution have been proposed. These can all help to some degree. But longer term, we need to transition away from fossil fuels if we are to breathe clean air, especially in a state with a growing population.
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama asked the Congress to take action on climate change. Solutions that reduce our impact on the climate will also reduce our air pollution. The most effective proposed solution would be to place a steadily increasing fee on carbon at the source (mine, wellhead, or port), with the proceeds returned to households. This will result in clean, renewable energy becoming less expensive than fossil fuel energy and we will move away from fossil fuels. When our elected representatives finally tax carbon pollution, we will all be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.