The issue of climate change is similar to a mosquito at a picnic.
The buzzing can be heard without the mosquito being noticed until it starts biting, said John Krieger, who kicked off a presentation for the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday afternoon.
Krieger, who has a background in manufacturing and ran a small business for nearly two decades, is a member of the Delaware chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The political nonprofit organization featured a panel of speakers at SourcePoint, 800 Cheshire Road, to present their agenda.
The debate over climate change is over and humans are warming the planet by emitting greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, Krieger said.
Krieger and Dr. Alice Frazier, a retired Sunbury physician, outlined the impacts of climate change in the future on businesses and public health. But the CCL also presented its approach to tackling climate change that business owners could rally behind.
The organization supports a carbon fee and dividend, which would tax companies that extract fossil fuels from the source and refund most of that money, except for an administration fee, to American households. The chapter is among 340 worldwide with 11,521 members, and have reached to their political leaders in Washington to pass such legislation next year.
“We’re calling the shot,” said member Marianne Gabel. “We think this can be done.”
Some members were skeptical of the proposal. Chamber President Holly Quaine said she didn’t agree with dividends being equally distributed among households without accounting for other benefits received and energy consumption.
But the approach is similar to Alaska applying a fee to oil extraction and refunding the money equally to Alaskan households, said panel speaker Michael Schaal.
The fee and dividend would reduce emissions by 31 percent and create 2.1 million jobs in 10 years, he added.
Krieger said tackling climate change requires a change in people’s behavior, which can be done two ways — by force through regulation or by incentive. While the proposal could increase energy costs it would encourage more individuals to look at alternatives, he said.
Also, Gabel said the CCL’s method is a market-based approach as it would not require a regulatory agency.
“How many fans of government regulation do we have here?” she asked.
No one raised their hand.
“I thought not,” Gabel said.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.