Joe Silverman: Why a carbon fee is needed

Published: 7/13/2021 12:25:50 PM

The severe drought in the Southwest and California, and the unprecedented heat waves in the Northwest and many parts of the world, make it very apparent that climate change, fueled by human-caused global warming, poses a serious threat to everyone.

These threats will become much worse unless and until the world is able to generate severe reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and regenerate the planet’s natural resources that sequester carbon — forests, soil and ocean waters. While this is obviously a global problem, the United States, as the world’s largest economy, the most powerful nation militarily, and historically the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has a special responsibility to be a leader in addressing this emergency.

Sadly, we have been anything but. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan was an attempt to institute numerous climate policies framed as a jobs plan to build bipartisan support; however, this effort seems likely to fail as Republicans are only interested in paying for infrastructure that maintains the fossil-fueled status quo.

The Jobs Plan was a complex and comprehensive proposal but a good alternative is a relatively straightforward carbon fee and dividend plan, such as the one proposed in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2307) and endorsed by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL). Similar bills have been proposed in the Senate by Sens. Durbin, Whitehouse, Coons and Feinstein.

Putting a fee on emissions would raise the price of natural gas, oil and coal with most of the money raised sent back to consumers who would not be able to afford the increase in energy prices. Many studies have confirmed this as the best means of reducing emissions quickly and efficiently while incentivizing the necessary innovations. More information about this is available on the Citizens Climate Lobby website.

You can support this approach by letting your elected representatives hear about your concerns and by joining the local chapter of CCL.

Joe Silverman


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