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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 31, 2014 at 6:22 PM

State of the Union: Climate change, Ukraine important parts of speech

How climate change could have factored more prominently

It was heartening to hear the president of the United States declare forcefully that climate change is real and a pressing moral responsibility [“Obama vows to bypass gridlock,” Nation & World, Jan. 28].

It was encouraging to hear him advocate an end to oil company subsidies, greater support for alternative energy and stronger controls on carbon emissions. But it would have been inspiring to hear a simple, direct, across-the-board policy proposal for addressing our fossil fuel dependence head-on.

One such proposal already on the table is so simple, easy to implement and likely to garner support across the political spectrum that it would have fit neatly into a single sentence in the president’s speech:

“A revenue-neutral tax on fossil fuels that rises each year, with the proceeds returned to the American taxpayer, would send a clear price signal to the energy markets that alternative energy is the best long-term investment, allow taxpayers to offset rising costs and leave it to the markets to pick the winners in the clean energy competition.”

Though he did not say it, we can certainly do it. It’s simple, it’s fair and it works.

Davis Oldham, member of Citizens Climate Lobby, Seattle

Glad Obama mentioned Ukraine uprising

As an American who has spent a significant amount of time traveling and spending time in the Ukraine, I am very glad that our president made a mention of the protests currently taking place in this often-overlooked country.

Ukraine is in every way an integral part of Europe even if it is not part of the EU. It is crucial that our government and our people do not ignore the potential of this country. Given a few years of investment and guidance, Ukraine could easily become one of the fastest growing economies of the world. There is as abundance of latent talent in the form of a very well educated population, natural resources including the most fertile soil in Europe, and beauty to be found from the Carpathian Mountains in the west to the Crimean Peninsula in the south.

It is not only our government that can support the future of this wonderful country: our people can also help. Plan a detour into Ukraine during your next European vacation — you don’t need a visa. Sip coffee at a historic cafe in Lviv, experience the nightlife of summertime Odessa, taste the full-bodied wines of the Crimean Peninsula, or tour the result of a real-life nuclear apocalypse in the newly opened Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Every time I am in Ukraine I am treated better than in any other European country I have traveled to, and a trip to Ukraine has an advantageous effect on my finances.

Joseph Grant, Seattle

Comments | More in State of the Union | Topics: climate change, Davis Oldham, Joseph Grant

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