For the first time, consensus may be building among Republicans for a common-sense approach to climate change: a carbon fee and dividend program.
On Wednesday, former Secretaries of State James Baker and George Shultz met at the White House to advocate for this. “It’s simple, it’s conservative, it’s free market, it’s limited government,” said Baker.
Their proposal calls for a revenue-neutral carbon fee starting at $40 per ton. This would be collected at the source: the well for gas, the mine for coal, the refinery for oil. The money would be returned to each U.S. household in quarterly checks totaling about $2,000 annually for a family of four.
“Two-thirds of American households will receive more in carbon dividends than they will pay directly in carbon taxes,” said Martin Feldstein, who chaired President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers.
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A carbon fee would recognize the true cost of carbon-based energy to the environment, public health and national defense. It would kindle use and development of alternative energy sources to reduce greenhouse gases. It would motivate people to shrink their carbon footprint. And the dividend to citizens would stimulate the economy.
Current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on record as favoring a carbon tax. Mitt Romney backs the proposal. So do prominent Republicans such as Greg Mankiw, Henry Paulson, Wal-Mart’s Rob Walton, and others including some GOP legislators.
I urge Congressman Glenn Thompson to join them and support legislation for carbon fee and dividend.
Richard W. Jones, State College