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Letter to the Editor: Carbon Pricing Is the Answer

It’s time for our whole nation to join the clean-energy future. We don’t have time to fight state-by-state against fossil fuel corporations and the politicians they control. We need to tax fossil fuel out of existence, globally, in the next decade or so if we are to avert “catastrophic” climate change the worldwide scientific community is warning about (IPCC).

We can do that with carbon pricing (Newsweek) and it doesn’t have to cost consumers or taxpayers anything. In fact, a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee called “carbon fee-and-dividend,” that’s distributed in equal monthly “dividend” checks to taxpayers, rather than the government, would actually give middle-class and lower-income people more disposable income every month. As the fee increases annually, people would naturally buy cheaper clean energy with their “dividend” money and make a profit. Carbon fee-and-dividend (CFD) would create more than 30 million U.S. jobs and increase GDP $75-80 billion annually (citizensclimatelobby.org).

CFD has worked as promised in British Columbia for the past eight years, lowering taxes and energy bills while creating jobs and growing their economy faster than any other Canadian province (The Economist). It has a whopping 83 percent public approval rating there (World Bank).

So why isn’t Congress acting on the “carbon fee-and-dividend” bill that’s sitting on Capitol Hill?

Because the fossil fuel corporations that fund the election campaigns of many GOP members of Congress (dirtyenergymoney.org) make sure that those politicians are vocal climate deniers and block clean energy legislation, despite the fact that a transition to solar and wind is clearly in the best interests of the American people.

Phasing out fossil fuels would eliminate more than 45,000 American deaths annually from carbon pollution (Stanford University’s thesolutionsproject.org) and save Americans more than $866.5 billion annually in medical bills for carbon-caused illnesses like asthma, lung cancer and heart disease (Forbes). That’s more than two percent of our GDP. Aside from the human suffering, fossil fuels are a tremendous drag on our economy.

Until the politicians who serve the interests of fossil fuel corporations rather than the American people are voted out of office, or at least see their jobs threatened if they don’t change their opposition to clean energy legislation, nothing will change.

If the American people speak with one voice on the issues of climate change and clean energy, we can have a carbon-pricing system that’s simple, transparent and market driven. CFD makes the fossil fuel industry, rather than the public, pay for the damage their products have caused – more than $1 trillion for climate disasters, so far (NOAA).

With a carbon fee that recognizes the “externalities” or “hidden” costs of oil, gas and coal, they’ll be priced out of the market, and clean energy will be nearly free within 20 years (Washington Post).

Check out the Citizens Climate Lobby website, and if you support what you see, let your members of Congress hear from you about CFD.

 

Pete Kuntz

Northglenn, Colo.

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