Vail Daily letter: Consider ‘carbon dividends’ to remedy climate change
May 22, 2017
Thanks for the excellent letter "Climate change evidence is pretty clear" (May 17), but we must go beyond defending peer-reviewed climate science to implementing solutions to climate change, and we must do it soon. The scientific community is unanimous in telling us that we have only about a decade left to make massive cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avert "catastrophic" climate change (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
Fortunately, we have a way to do that, which will have massive economic benefits and is politically viable. You can see a short version of it in a TED talk. Just Google "A Climate Solution Where All Sides Can Win." The head of the conservative Climate Solutions Council presents it.
It's an escalating carbon tax that's paid to the taxpayers, rather than by them. It's called "carbon dividends," and it will cost consumers and taxpayers nothing. It's market-driven and will mean smaller government and deregulation. These are all things dear to the hearts of conservatives.
One of the most important features of the "carbon dividends" is that it will create a global "domino" effect, incentivizing other nations to implement the same rebated carbon tax so they won't be economically disadvantaged.
What the TED talk doesn't mention is that "carbon dividends" will also mean over 5 million good-paying, permanent (40-year) clean energy jobs in this country (Stanford University's solutionsproject.org) and reduce the more than 200,000 deaths that are caused annually in America by carbon pollution (mit.edu) and save Americans more than $866.5 billion they now spend annually to treat carbon-caused illnesses (Forbes).
If you are convinced by the TED talk, please urge your congressional representatives to support this policy.
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We will need bipartisan support to get "carbon dividends" passed in Congress. There is already a carbon dividends bill drafted and ready to be introduced in Congress that Democrats will support.
You might think that the Trump administration will never support such a policy, but don't forget that the president has promised more than 24 million new jobs and he's not going to find them in the manufacturing sector, much less the fossil-fuel industry, both of which continue to shed jobs through increasing automation (Forbes, Bloomberg, The Economist, Fortune, Time).
Meanwhile, solar and wind already employ more Americans than oil, natural gas and coal combined, and they are growing at 12 times the rate of the overall U.S. economy (Fortune). Creating a clean-energy economy would mean a longlasting, unprecedented economic boom in this country.
Trump and the GOP badly need to deliver on their economic campaign promises. Supporting clean energy offers them a way to that. And there has never been an American president capable of completely reversing his most important policies literally overnight as Trump. His energy policies and his war on the EPA are deeply unpopular. Backing "carbon dividends" might be the one thing that could give Trump a win. It would certainly be a win for our country.
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