Carbon fee works better than cap-and-trade
February 26, 2022

A recent article written by the Associated Press and published in the IJ (“California companies’ pollution credits put climate aims at risk,” Feb. 17) should serve warning to all who think that cap-and-trade or other credit schemes are the answer to our climate crisis.

It’s becoming clear that cap-and-trade, as conceived and implemented, simply does not work. It requires bureaucracy to implement and run. It creates price volatility that makes it difficult for businesses to plan ahead. A “carbon fee” put on fossil fuels at the source (at the well, mine or port) is part of the proposal for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It is far simpler, with less bureaucracy, lower costs and more predictability.

The proposal has 95 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and is gaining support across the country because it will effectively reduce carbon emissions while protecting low- and middle-income people from rising prices while promoting environmental justice. It can be implemented in under a year, commensurate with the urgency of the need to reduce emissions.

It will incentivize other countries, such as China, to implement similar carbon-price regimes. It will protect America’s business competitiveness overseas. And, importantly, it is completely compatible with any other measure that might be taken to address the problem. In fact, it would strengthen and accelerate many of them.

Canada has implemented a carbon fee and dividend plan. It is both effective and popular. Forty other countries have already adopted similar policies, including many in the European Union. In Marin and Sonoma counties, more than 60 businesses and nonprofits have joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby in endorsing the bill.

Now more than ever, it’s critical for both individuals and organizations to add their voices to those calling on Congress and the president to pass meaningful climate legislation like this.

— Jim Patrick and Debbie Patrick, Sausalito