Poll shows 59% of county residents believe in global warming

Towns County - Climate Change Poll

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – According to a poll conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, approximately 59% of Towns County residents believe that global warming is fact rather than fiction. In comparison, the study shows that only 32% of local citizens claimed to discuss the issue with others. Nearly half of the survey participants purportedly said that they believe global warming is affecting the weather, with 44% of those polled stating that human activity is primarily to blame.

Click to view poll

The statistics were provided to FYN by Jim Tolbert of the Conservative Caucus Action Team, a group that describes itself as composed of Republican, libertarian, conservative, and right-of-center independent Citizen Climate Lobby (CCL) advocates. According to CCL research, roughly seven in ten registered U.S. voters (73%) believe that global warming is happening. The results of the nationwide survey include nearly all liberal Democrats (95%), a large majority of moderate/conservative Democrats (89%), and two in three liberal/moderate Republicans (66%). In contrast, only about four in ten conservative Republicans (41%) believe that global warming is real.

Global warming

Towns County’s views on the perceived risks associated with climate change. Source: CCL Conservative Caucus Action Team.

“Nearly six in ten (58%) Americans are now either ‘Alarmed’ or “Concerned” about global warming. From 2014 to 2019, the proportion of ‘Alarmed’ nearly tripled,” Climate Change Communications explained. “Our prior research has categorized Americans into six groups – Global Warming’s Six Americas – based on their climate change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The ‘Alarmed’ are the most worried about global warming and the most supportive of strong action to reduce carbon pollution. In contrast, the ‘Dismissive’ do not think global warming is happening or human-caused and strongly oppose climate action.”

According to Pew Research Center, studies found that in the past six years, the number of Democrats who said they are concerned about climate change increased by 20 points. Among Republicans, however, the statistics have essentially remained the same.

“When it comes to party divides, the biggest gaps on climate policy and climate science are between those at the ends of the political spectrum, “Pew Research Center stated. “Across the board, from possible causes to who should be the one to sort this all out, liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans see climate-related matters through vastly different lenses. Liberal Democrats place more faith in the work of climate scientists (55% say climate research reflects the best available evidence most of the time) and their understanding of the phenomenon (68% say climate scientists understand very well whether or not climate change is occurring). Perhaps it follows, then, that liberal Democrats are much more inclined to believe a wide variety of environmental catastrophes are potentially headed our way, and that both policy and individual actions can be effective in heading some of these off. Even the Republicans who believe the Earth is warming are much less likely than Democrats to expect severe harms to the Earth’s ecosystem and to believe that any of six individual and policy actions asked about can make a big difference in addressing climate change. And, a majority of conservative Republicans believe that each of the six actions to address climate change can make no more than a small difference.”

A 2018 Climate Fee and Dividend Resolution was rejected on the floor by Hiawassee City Council in a 4-1 divide.

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Climate change activist warns of ‘horrifically grim future’

Vernon Dixon

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Local climate change activist, Dr. Vernon Dixon, continues to warn the public of the impending repercussions of global warming while encouraging the community to support a bill designed to decrease greenhouse gases.

“According to a new U.S. Army report,  commissioned by General Mark Milley, Trump’s new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Americans could face a horrifically grim future from climate change involving blackouts, disease, thirst, starvation, and war,” Dixon said. “The study found that, due to a series of cascading disasters due to climate change, the US military could face the possibility of collapse if we don’t start preparing now. This could all happen over the next two decades, the report notes. The senior US government officials who wrote the report are from several key agencies, including the Army, Defense Intelligence Agency, and NASA.”

General Mark Milley

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The United States Army War College recently released a report exploring the significant impact climate change will have on national security and U.S. Army operations and offering a set of urgent recommendations. The second sentence of the report sets the stage immediately, stating, “the Department of Defense is precariously underprepared for the national security implications of climate change-induced global security challenges.” The report details the most imminent threats climate change poses to national security: severe weather events, mass migration, diminishing global freshwater supplies, changing disease vectors, Arctic competition, stress on the U.S. power grid, and nuclear reactors, as well as sea-level rise.

“This is the latest and most chilling yet of many warnings from US government agencies about the severe implications from climate change,” Dixon said.  “If we hope to preserve our country for our children, we must listen to these dire warnings and act decisively and quickly.  The simplest and most effective way to begin this is to pass a bill like the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Bill, HR 763.  This bill employs a free-market approach that will decrease greenhouse gases by 90% by 2050, add millions of new American jobs, put more real spendable income into the average American’s pocket, and not cost our government one penny, unlike many other plans being proposed.”


Local activist warns of severe financial dangers associated with climate change

Vernon Dixon

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Local activist Dr. Vernon Dixon of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is continuing his battle against climate change by warning citizens and Congress of the financial implications associated with his chosen cause.

“Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has just said that businesses that fail to adapt to climate change will go bust, but others will be able to profit handsomely from funding green investment,” Dixon shared. “This is just one of many warnings coming from our country and around the world about the severe financial dangers from climate change.

Vernon Dixon

Dr. Vernon Dixon at the 2019 Earth Day event on Hiawassee Town Square

“I urge (Congress) to listen to our financial experts and take action on climate change while there is still time. Please consider passing legislation like the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Bill, HR 763, as the single best way to do this.  If enacted, this bill would decreasee greenhouse gases by 90% by 2050 using a free market approach that grows our economy and adds millions of new American jobs at the same time.  It would enable the US to again lead the world in the green energy revolution.”

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Bill bill imposes a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels that will be used so as to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The fee is imposed on the producers or importers of the fuels and is equal to the greenhouse gas content of the fuel multiplied by the carbon fee rate. The rate begins at $15 in 2019, increases by $10 each year, and is subject to further adjustments based on the progress in meeting specified emissions reduction targets. The bill also imposes a specified fee on fluorinated greenhouse gases.

The bill includes:

  • exemptions for fuels used for agricultural or nonemitting purposes,
  • exemptions for fuels used by the Armed Forces,
  • rebates for facilities that capture and sequester carbon dioxide, and
  • border adjustment provisions that require certain fees or refunds for carbon-intensive products that are exported or imported.

The fees must be deposited into a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund and used for administrative expenses and dividend payments to U.S. citizens or lawful residents. The fees must be decommissioned when emissions levels and monthly dividend payments fall below specified levels. The bill also suspends certain regulations that limit greenhouse gas emissions. The suspensions expire if the emissions targets established by this bill are not reached after a specified time period.

While everyone may not agree with Dixon’s position on climate change, his passion for the cause is difficult to dispute. Dixon urged concerned citizens to contact Congress leaders in an effort to support HR 763.

Feature Photo: Dr. Vernon Dixon/Facebook

Plant Affair on the Square features Earth Day awareness advocates

Vernon Dixon

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Town Square was the site of the annual “Plant Affair on the Square” Saturday, April 13. The heart of Hiawassee was filled with vibrant blooms and vendors, including booths to support Earth Day awareness.

The Rotary Club of Lake Chatuge-Hiawassee offered complementary, reuseable totes to visitors, an act to encourge a reduction in plastic shopping bags that can be detremental to the environment. The Rotarians are connected to 1.2 million members worldwide, and the local chapter participates in a wide range of community service projects.

Hiawassee Rotary

Rotary Club of Lake Chatuge – Hiawassee

Vernon Dixon, a climate change activist, was on-hand to dispense information on the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The mission of the lobbyists involves implementing a plan which will reduce national greenhouse emissions by 52 percent, add 2.8  million jobs to the economy, and improve overall air quality. The organization is working to impose a fee on fossil fuels at the mine, well, or port of entry source, distribute net revenues to US households to offset higher energy prices due to the fee, and encourge a border tariff adjustment to discourage businesses from relocating to areas where they can emit additional carbon dioxide. Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization.

Plant Affair on the Square

A wide variety of spring blooms were available for purchase

Clean Sweep Week, which was extended to a two week period this year, begins April 15, and runs through April 27. Residents are encouraged to obtain specially-marked bags from the Towns County Courthouse, Hiawassee City Hall, Young Harris City Hall, or either county library branch to collect roadside debris. Gloves and safety vests are available to volunteers. Collected trash can be delivered to the Towns County Transfer Station at no charge. Cash awards will be extended to the individual, business, and organization which collects the greatest amounts. Clean Sweep will not be in effect on Good Friday or Passover, in observance of the holy days.

Feature Photo: Vernon Dixon of Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Local activist continues battle against climate change

Vernon Dixon

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Dr. Vernon Dixon, a local activist, claimed there is growing concern among Republicans about climate change Sunday, May 5. The environmentalist appeared before Hiawassee City Council in early August of last year, striving to gain approval of a resolution intended to apply pressure on Congress. The city council ultimately declined to enact a carbon emission tax on producers – at the well, mine, or port – which potentially coud have provided a dividend return for Hiawassee.

Vernon Dixon

Dr. Vernon Dixon at the 2019 Earth Day event on Hiawassee Town Square

Although denied enactment by the City of Hiawassee, Dr. Dixon continues to encourage residents of Towns County to support bipartisan legislation to address climate change. “The bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Bill, HR 763, is just such legislation,” Dixon said. “It is a conservative, market driven solution to climate change that would add millions of new American jobs.

“During the recent debate about the Paris Climate Agreement, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the highest ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, ‘We can all agree that climate is changing. We need to take positive steps to address it.’ He argued that Congress should commit to a bipartisan approach to climate action.

“During the same discussion, Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), the highest ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, said he, too, wished that the House was considering bipartisan legislation on climate change. ‘I fully agree that the climate is changing. I agree humans are contributing to that change,’ he said. ‘I agree there’s something we need to do about this, and we need to be aggressive.'”


Climate Change Resolution set to appear before Hiawassee Council

News, Politics

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Local environmentalist Vernon Dixon propositioned Hiawassee City Council with a presentation intended to apply pressure on Congress to enact a carbon emission tax on producers – at the well, mine, or port – and potentially provide a dividend return for Hiawassee.

The resolution is scheduled for Council approval at the Aug. 7 regular session at City Hall, and reads as follows:

WHEREAS, the City of Hiawassee Georgia is committed to fighting climate change and is committed to protecting Hiawassee residents from the effects of climate change and air pollution; and
WHEREAS, Climate change poses a serious threat to the City of Hiawassee in terms of the economy, public health, and the environment; and
WHEREAS, As a result of climate change, the Southeast is experiencing warming temperatures and a large increase in the amount of rainfall measured during heavy precipitation events; and
WHEREAS, More frequent heat waves in the Southeast are expected to increasingly threaten human health through more heat stress and air pollution; and
WHEREAS, Sea levels rise and more frequent heavy rains are expected to increase flooding and storm surge, threatening infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, As temperatures rise, agriculture will likely face reduced yields, potentially damaging livelihoods and the regional economy; and
WHEREAS, Congress has the responsibility to act swiftly and meaningfully on the issue of climate change; and
WHEREAS, Legislation addressing climate change should not economically burden Hiawassee or Hiawassee residents; and
WHEREAS, Carbon Fee and Dividend as put forth by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby greatly helps fight climate change, protects Hiawassee residents from the effects of climate change, and is a net economic boost to Hiawassee and Hiawassee residents.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of Hiawassee calls on the United States Congress to address climate change and explore a Carbon Fee and Dividend as a sound, effective policy.

Information on the Citizens’ Climate Lobby mission can be found by visiting CitizensClimateLobby.org

UPDATED 8/4: FYN has learned that Council members Amy Barrett and Nancy Noblet do not intend to support the resolution. It is unknown at this time where the three remaining Council members stand on the issue. FYN will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.


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