The FLRC board has given the club’s endorsement to House Resolution 763, a piece of federal legislation in the US House of Representatives that aims to encourage market-driven efforts to reduce climate change. Called the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019,” this bill calls for producers or importers of fuels such as crude oil, natural gas, and coal to pay a fee based on the carbon content of their product. It would also charge a fee for the import of carbon-intensive products, such as iron and cement. Although some of the fees may be passed on to citizens consuming carbon-based products, they will be paid directly back to US citizens as a dividend. You can learn more about the Act and, if you wish, endorse it as well at energyinnovationact.org.
The board was asked to consider making this endorsement during a presentation on climate change given by former Ithaca High School student Zoe Getzin. Zoe is now a first-year student at Williams College and a member of Citizens Climate Education. Zoe was joined by Miranda Philips, who is also a member of Citizens Climate Education.
For the FLRC board, the motivation to endorse the bill was to show support for reducing climate change. Our particular concern, as runners and race directors, was that climate change caused by carbon pollution makes for more dramatic weather. These strong winds, powerful rainstorms, and ultra-hot days make running uncomfortable and unsafe, and they hamper our club’s ability to put on successful races.
We don’t want to have to cancel or reschedule races due to weather, and we don’t want our members to suffer from excessive heat—Zoe cited statistics suggesting that the number of summer days with highs in the 90s will double by 2050 if trends don’t change. We also don’t want to be forced to cancel races due to washed-out trails, as has been the case several times with our Forge the Gorgeous race in Fillmore Glen State Park. Whether we’re avoiding hail, worrying about high winds and falling branches, or wishing for weather that was less like a sauna, it’s clear that we don’t need more extreme weather here in the Finger Lakes—or anywhere else where people want to head out for a run.
Climate change is a serious issue and there are lots of ways to combat it—including carpooling or cycling to FLRC races and bringing your own water bottles to cut down on waste! In addition to individual action, government regulations and incentives are needed to combat the serious threat of climate change.