Creating lasting, effective climate policy (letter)
Recent climate news has been generating increasing anxiety for many people. We feel anxious because we care. Our natural impulse is to move forward into a solution that supports and builds our humanity. When I decided to confront my own paralysis, I looked to volunteer with others who encouraged an inclusive conversation. I think most of us can agree that bickering has resolved nothing.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby has been quietly working to build relationships with legislators for over 10 years. They recognized that any lasting and effective climate policy would have to be palatable to both major parties. On Nov. 27, the efforts of thousands of volunteers across the country paid off when the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act was introduced on the House floor. Sponsorship includes three Republicans and four Democrats highlighting the bipartisan tone that is key to drawing the country together. For further information, see cclusa.org/bill.
This Act would place a fee on fossil fuels and return the proceeds as a dividend to Americans. Each adult would receive a full share, each child a half share. The transparency and simplicity of this policy speak for themselves. People and organizations that “win” will be those who make choices that reduce their use of fossil fuels. It incentivizes behavior rather than mandates it.
Putting a price on carbon does not replace regulatory options, it complements and might reduce a need for them.
Grassroots ingenuity is sourced from the common person or small business. A regular dividend check will spark conversation and a populist effort to innovate in ways that cannot be predicted. Encouraging resourcefulness in all people, rural and urban, is key to building a social movement that will draw us together on this issue.