Letter: U.S. should adopt carbon fee, dividend

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I appreciate U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Maria Cantwell asking the General Accounting Office to prepare a report on the fiscal impact that unchecked climate change will have on the economy in the decades to come. The results leave little doubt that unless we take action now to slow the process, extreme weather events, like this season’s hurricanes and the wildfires in California, will continue to cost the treasury hundreds of billions of dollars yearly. By the year 2039 the numbers are estimated to be in the trillions of dollars.

It’s way past time to join the many other countries around the world and put an escalating price on carbon. The Citizen’s Climate Lobby’s “carbon fee and dividend” proposal is the fairest way to do that. The monies collected from such a tax on carbon would be returned to citizens as a dividend check each year. It would serve to offset some of the anticipated increases in the costs of purchases of carbon related products, like gasoline or fuel oil. Putting a price on carbon will incentivize investments in renewable energy by businesses as well as individuals. The less carbon-dependent you are as a consumer, the more of your dividend remains in your pocket.

We have an opportunity to act in the interest of our environment and of our financial well-being as a country. We need to seize that opportunity now.

Mary Ann Larson
Portland

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  • jfreed27

    Why even bother with the paid deniers and front groups who thrive creating the delay of a false climate debate?

    A revenue neutral carbon fee with a dividend, makes enormous sense! !
    Economists and scientists say it is the best way to create healthy and safe communities. It is not a tax. This way citizens would RECEIVE the carbon fees as a monthly check, for example. That would protect us from price spikes in dirty energy.

    Polluters PAY the fees, so it holds fossil fuel corporations responsible for the damages. or “externalities”, they cause, hundreds of billions of dollars per year (Harvard School of Medicine).

    It would more rapidly limit further pollution than by regulations alone, as happened in BC Canada with a similar, popular policy. BC lowered emissions and also lowered taxes with their fees.

    A study by respected non-partisan Regional Economic Modeling, Inc. found the dividends would help to create 2.9 million additional jobs in 20 years, while reducing carbon emissions 50% in that time, as fees stimulate low carbon technologies . http://citizensclimatelobby.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/REMI-National-SUMMARY.pdf

    To those who reject the science: perhaps nothing will change your mind. But what have you got against cleaner air, less asthma in our kids, fewer heart attacks, and more money (the dividend) in your pockets?
    To those accepting the science: Any effort to
 limit the problem of climate trauma is worth it. For example: the cost of sea level rise ALONE is so great that no effort to prevent it is unwarranted.

    Elon Musk was asked “what can we do? ” Musk: “I would say whenever you have the opportunity, talk to the politicians.,,,,. We have to fix the unpriced externality [social cost]. I would talk to your friends about it and fight the propaganda from the carbon industry.”

  • Chew H Bird

    While climate change, (in my opinion) is very real a carbon tax is absolutely the wrong way to go about fixing it. All a carbon tax will do is create a new bucket of funds for politicians to spend on non-essential bloated (pork) programs and the financial well will be dry when we need it most.

    • Jeff Dorian

      It’s a FEE, not a tax. The difference? None of the money goes to the governments pocket.

      • Chew H Bird

        It still comes out of my pocket and is distributed elsewhere.

        • Jeff Dorian

          It is refunded to all American households as per Citizens Climate Lobby and several other plans. Try reading it, as jfreed27 referred you to.

          • Chew H Bird

            So I pay in dollars and get back pennies?

  • Jeff Dorian

    Now is the time to talk about it. We are seeing the effects of global weirding, and they are NOT reversible.