Fee on carbon emissions could slow climate change

A letter to the Marin IJ by Richard Bailey of the Marin Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby:

The Marin Voice (May 5), “Reflections on the wide impact of global climate change,” makes a strong argument that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. To do otherwise is to create a world which will only support decreasing numbers of life forms, including ours.

But how can that be accomplished in a manner that is socially just, and supported by conservatives and progressives alike?

The answer is to place a simple fee on carbon emissions, levied only on fossil fuel companies at the source of carbon (the mine, well or port of entry). This fee, which is not a tax since the money is not given to government agencies, should then be returned as a dividend in equal, monthly checks to every household, thereby stimulating the economy.

To calculate your dividend, go to citizensclimatelobby.org/calculator. My dividend would start at $53 a month, and increase annually. Some of that would go for higher costs, but we, like most people, would still come out ahead.

This solution avoids taxes, which can be gamed, avoids supporting the technology of the day, which can change, and avoids onerous government regulations applied to only individual components of the problem (auto emissions, mining, efficiency standards, etc.).

By starting small ($15 per ton of carbon) we avoid an economic shock. By increasing the fee every year, carbon emissions will continue to drop as more people switch to carbon free energy.

This solution is equal, efficient, and effective.

— Richard Bailey, Novato