The June 23 Centre Daily Times offered the welcome sight of two opinion essays debating solutions to the climate change crisis.
That was also the date when delegates to the Citizens’ Climate Lobby annual convention in Washington, D.C., went to Capitol Hill to ask our elected representatives to support a carbon fee and dividend. The CCL proposal solves the problems highlighted in the opinion essays.
The carbon fee and dividend is a legislative proposal that will eliminate entirely the need for EPA regulations. It is a constitutional and easily understood policy. It is simpler and more straightforward than the proposal by Bill Eacho because it would not require identifying greenhouse gas emitters and the dividend would go entirely to households rather than in part to corporations. A fee would be placed on the CO2 content of fossil fuels as they are taken from the mine or well, starting at $15 per ton of CO2 and increasing by $10 per ton each year.
Revenue from the fee will be returned in equal shares to all households. Border adjustment tariffs on imports from nations that don’t price carbon would keep American products competitive. Here are some of the advantages to this proposal:
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• It is revenue neutral, which means it won’t increase the size of government.
• It will add jobs to the economy and protect low- and middle-income households from increased energy costs associated with the fee.
• It achieves the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
• It allows the free market, rather than the government, to pick the winners and losers among emerging clean technologies.
• It provides the motivation, through border adjustments, for other nations to follow our lead with carbon-pricing systems of their own.
• It allows for the phaseout of government subsidies on all types of energy.
A study from the highly respected Regional Economic Models Inc. found that after 20 years:
• CO2 emissions would be reduced 50 percent below 1990 levels.
• Because of the economic stimulus of recycling carbon fee revenue back to households, 2.8 million jobs would be added to the American economy.
• Improved air quality would result in 230,000 premature deaths avoided.
In other words, it would do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than the proposed EPA regulations while stimulating the economy, providing a market mechanism for paying the true costs of carbon pollution, and helping lower-income families through this period of adjustment to clean energy.
The nonpartisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby is building the political will to bring about a solution that people from different political points of view can embrace. By working together we can solve the climate crisis. I urge you to learn more about the CCL proposal and join us in this effort.