Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have already caused upwards of $300 billion in damages to the United States, with Hurricane Jose still approaching.

While the greatest loss from these storms is the human lives taken, infrastructure and aid costs are the fiscal reality that we face in their aftermath. This is not the first time we have seen devastating hurricanes in the United States and we cannot attribute their existence to our changing climate, but we can be certain that they are more extreme because of it.

Temperatures in La Crosse have been mild this summer, but nevertheless, our planet is hotter than ever recorded, and still heating up. Warmer water temperatures have been shown to increase hurricane intensity. Warmer air holds more water and increases the ability of hurricanes to cause immense rainfall. It is time to put a price on carbon emissions, that include the greenhouse gases CO2 and methane, to prevent further climate destabilization. This problem will not solve itself. If we don't pay for it now, we will pay for it later, with more climate disasters and the human lives lost along with them.

A simple carbon fee and dividend, like the one proposed by Citizens Climate Lobby, will grow our GDP and decrease carbon emissions within 10 years of implementation. Reputable economic models support a price on carbon. It is not only an economically sound decision, it is our moral duty to protect human life by stabilizing our climate.

Peter Gorski, La Crosse

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