How to fix climate change fast

A letter to the editor that ran May 9, "Climate change brings disaster, disease," supports "reducing climate change as quickly as possible." How do we do that?

The best idea I've found, after a lot of research, is to tax fossil fuels out of business and give all the tax money to the taxpayers. British Columbia's done it for nearly and decade, and they've cut greenhouse gas emission by 56 percent while cutting taxes and energy bills, creating jobs and the fastest-growing economy in Canada (according to The Economist).

They've used a policy called Carbon Fee and Dividend that makes all fossil fuel corporations pay an annually increasing carbon pollution fee and gives all that money to each taxpayer in equal monthly "carbon dividend" checks. As the price of fossil fuels goes steadily up, your checks get steadily bigger. Meanwhile, clean energy prices, already reaching grid parity, will continue to plummet as they scale up (according to Scientific American).

This simple, proven plan is projected to create over 5 million good-paying, local, permanent (40-year) jobs in the U.S. (according to Stanford University's thesolutionsproject.org) and increase our GDP over $1.3 billion ( citizensclimatelobby.org).


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Climate change has cost U.S. taxpayers over $1 trillion (according to NOAA), and burning fossil fuels does over half a trillion dollars in damage to our economy every year (Harvard Business Review), so making them pay for the damage their products cause is more than fair. And since carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels kills over 200,000 Americans annually (MIT.edu), putting them out of business as soon as possible is an urgent matter of public health as well.

See the volunteer, nonpartisan Citizens Climate Lobby to see how we can make Carbon Fee and Dividend a reality in the U.S.

By Lynn Goldfarb, Northglenn

Yasukuni Shrine is a symbol of militarism and destruction

I saw the picture of Yasukuni Shrine of Japan that ran as the "Snap of the Day" on April 23. The picture looks peaceful.

But as a Korean, my heart was broken by the picture. Under Japanese colonial rule, many Korean brothers and sisters were killed and forced to become soldiers and sex slaves. Have you heard about the Nanjing Massacre of China, also called the Asian Holocaust? To neighboring countries, the Yasukuni Shrine has become a ticking time bomb, threatening regional peace for the last 30 years.

The documentaries "Truth and Denial" by CCTV News and "History Issues - Yasukuni Shrine" (both of which are available on YouTube) describe how the shrine commemorates almost 2.5 million people who died while invading or occupying other countries from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the Allied Occupation. This figure includes 14 Class-A World War II criminals. From 1945, 15 Japanese prime ministers have paid 68 visits to the shrine. "Japanese politicians, gangsters and right-wingers gather at Yasukuni. The vehicles belonging to Japanese gangs can be seen everywhere. I would say you can see this kind of scene only in Japan," said Jang Feng, a Chinese writer.

The Japanese government justifies war by praising enshrined souls as gods, the very heroes of battle. The greatest honor a man can achieve in Japan is to die in battle and be enshrined at Yasukuni. The Yasukuni Shrine symbolizes militarism. This is the core issue.

Yasukuni Shrine must be destroyed. After WWII, Gen. Douglas MacArthur initially wanted to have it burned down. The investigation report by the American Postwar Planning Committee states that Yasukuni is not a religious institution but a place where aggressive militarism is cultivated. The report also notes that the shrine should be closed down. But with Japanese lobbyists, the shrine was able to survive. In 1965, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare acknowledged 14 Class-A criminals as martyrs within the shrine. How shocking would it be to the world if the German government praised Hitler and honored Nazis as martyrs?

From the late 1990s, with the economic recession, nationalism became instrumental in raising national morale in Japan. The right-wingers who denied Japan's history of invasion and portrayed Japan as a victim became very popular. Every year on Aug. 15, Korea's Independence Day from Japanese colonial rule, the shrine provides the backdrop for various political groups to express themselves. Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said, "The Japanese army and civilians don't know about their historical truth, from the right-wingers to ordinary people. They can't see what is wrong with visiting Yasukuni."

An exhibition for the 70th anniversary of the Great East War, Japan's name for World War II, is being held at the Yushukan War Museum in Yasukuni Shrine with photos and other items on display to praise those Class-A criminals as heroes (see the article "Stop Talking About Yasukuni: The Real Problem is Yushukan" from The Atlantic). This is more than remembering those killed in the war. Yasukuni has become a stage for broadcasting an ideology and a stool for Japanese right-wingers. Again, this is the core issue!

If we do not learn from history, our current trajectory will repeat it. The Yasukuni Shrine is a symbol of destruction, not honor.

By Giwha Cha, Erie