Letters to SF Chronicle and Marin IJ: Benefits of electric cars/U.S. must take action to reduce CO2 emissions

San Francisco Chronicle, March 7, 2019:

Benefits of electric cars

Regarding “Off-putting change in new car” (Letters, Mar. 6): Being put off by the range and cost of a Tesla does not change the fact that a Model 3 provides 310 miles (soon to be increased) at a cost of several cents per mile. Very few people need more range than that, and hardly any other vehicles are cheaper to drive because electric cars need no tune-ups, smog checks, belts, exhaust parts, antifreeze, oil, air filters, etc.

The Model Y will satisfy demands for a small crossover SUV at a price well below that of many new cars, provide a similar range, and will not emit carbon pollution that we all breathe. It will not, however, slow climate disruption.

To do that, our members of Congress must pass HR763, the Energy Conservation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019. This legislation will return funds from fossil fuel companies to everyone in equal shares, dramatically reduce carbon pollution and stimulate the economy like no other program now being considered. Lower-income folks whose carbon footprint is lower will benefit the most, and we will all benefit from a healthier environment. Save up your carbon dividend and buy an electric car.

Richard Bailey

Marin Independent Journal, March 7, 2019:

U.S. must take action to reduce CO2 emissions

The March 3 article on the Green New Deal got two important things right. The United States needs national legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible. And that legislation must be economically just.

The GND would go far beyond these goals, and reform our economy and political processes from top to bottom. To some, these measures are controversial. Such a sweeping, high-concept resolution will significantly delay (if not kill) the political deal that would allow the GND to reduce carbon emissions. As the increasingly severe firestorms and tidal flooding demonstrate, we can’t afford delay.

The way to immediately and dramatically reduce carbon emissions is to pass the specific, detailed bill that already has bipartisan support: HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. By imposing rising pollution fees on companies that produce and import fossil fuels, this act would slash emissions more than any other detailed legislation ever introduced in Congress. By returning the revenues in equal shares to all Americans, it would make low- and middle-income families better off financially, providing the needed social and economic equity.

Because the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would be effective, equitable and non-ideological, it would be as politically popular as Social Security. Let’s debate the GND; but meanwhile, let’s take immediate, effective action on carbon.

Ray Welch


Letter To Marin IJ: Legislation Would Cut Carbon Emissions 40%

The following was published in the Marin IJ 
By Ray Welch January 11, 2019

Legislation would cut
carbon emissions 40%

I appreciate Steve Ziman’s respectful contribution to the discussion on climate action (Readers’ Forum, Jan. 4).

I’d urge him to look at the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (S.3791/HR.7173) sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats, that Congress is considering right now. It addresses all his concerns.

First, the legislation doesn’t propose a tax, but a fee. Fossil fuel companies would buy pollution permits for every unit of oil, natural gas and coal they extract or import. The Treasury Department would not keep this money. Instead, 100 percent of it would be divided into equal shares and returned by check or direct deposit to every household in America, somewhat like Social Security.

Second, it is very much a market solution. The fossil fuel companies would choose how much of their fee payments to recover in their sales prices. The consumer would then choose which products to buy: higher-priced, high-carbon ones, or lower-priced, low-carbon ones. For low-carbon consumers, their monthly check from the Treasury Department would exceed their total monthly cost increases. In this way, they would earn money for reducing pollution.

Third, the program would indeed reduce global carbon emissions. It imposes a tariff on the carbon content of imports from countries that lack a carbon price. Since America is the world’s largest consumer market, China and others would try to avoid that tariff by instituting their own carbon price and reducing the carbon content of their exports.

Fourth, America’s industry would be advantaged, not disadvantaged. Some of the tariff proceeds would be rebated to our own export industries to offset their carbon costs and keep them competitive overseas.

It’s estimated that carbon emissions would be reduced by 40 percent within 12 years, with further reductions after that.

— Ray Welch, Marinwood