The recent “Pro/Con” columns concerning “free-market energy policies” were remarkable in that neither addressed how our nation’s energy usage and carbon emissions might function in a truly free market, let alone how we consumers might fare.
One columnist ludicrously advocates nationalization of energy, a “solution” about as likely (and as useful) as me being elected president. The other, representing the petroleum industry, would have us believe that all will be well if only we would quit trying to make his industry curb pollution and otherwise be responsible citizens. He ignores the state and federal subsidies that support fossil fuels.
The true free-market solution is a carbon fee and dividend program such as proposed by the non-partisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby (citizensclimatelobby.org). Briefly, a gradually increasing fee would be assessed against all carbon-based fuel extraction and all the money collected would be distributed in equal shares to every American household. Prices would rise for all products containing or using carbon-based fuels.
This increase would be offset by the dividend. Calculations show that most households would come out ahead. But as a smart consumer you could choose more fuel-efficient transportation or even local apples instead of those hauled from Washington state, and come out well ahead. Industry would become more efficient in order to be competitive. Subsidies for renewables would be unnecessary. That is how a free market should work.
Take a look at Citizens Climate Lobby then contact your representative and senators to encourage a market-based solution to climate change.
Randy Poulsen, State College