We have a solution to climate change. It is practical, equitable and already has bipartisan support. It is called “Carbon Fee and Dividend” and it will drive America’s carbon pollution down to Net Zero by 2050. It will make clean energy more affordable, save lives and put money in every citizen’s pocket. Here’s how it works:
A fee is charged at the source of fossil fuels. For example, an oil refinery will pay a fee for all that it produces. A similar fee would be charged on all fossil fuel imports that come from a country that does not impose carbon fees. Next, the money is collected by the government and then distributed to all U.S. households as a monthly dividend. The amount of the fee is increased each year, until we finally reach Net Zero carbon in the U.S. Of course, the dividend would increase as revenues increase. All the money would be distributed to America citizens, except for the cost of administration, similar to the CoVid relief payments made a couple of years ago.
This is a market-based solution and has therefore won support of some Republicans, who are generally more reticent about addressing climate change than Democrats. Tom Tillis, Republican Senator from North Carolina tweeted, “The 4th National Climate Assessment report serves as a glaring reminder of the long-term risks of climate change. Both parties need to work together to deploy an innovative, market-driven strategy to combat the impacts of climate change.”
The U.S. is lagging behind in recognizing and addressing climate change through a carbon fee and dividend program. The list of countries that already practice some method of national carbon pricing includes Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, the European Union (27 countries), Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, the UK, and Ukraine. Many countries, including most of our large trading partners, have instituted some form of national carbon pricing. Of all the world’s developed economies, only Australia and the U.S. do not have nationwide carbon pricing in place.
While carbon fees would raise prices on some products (gas, oil, methane) it would reduce prices for other products as the economy shifts toward clean energy. Businesses prefer this climate solution because it provides a clear path ahead and allows businesses time to adjust to changes in the market. The fact is that the economy is going to have to change in response to climate change. Those changes can be managed and woven into the economy or they can be ignored and become a catalyst for chaos. Change is coming. We can manage it or ignore it to our peril.
You can contact your congressional representatives and encourage them to support a Carbon Fee and Dividend bill by clicking on this link: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/get-loud-take-action/price-carbon/