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