February 24, 2022

Cap-and-trade program failing to make difference

In a story written by the Associated Press (“California companies’ pollution credits put climate aims at risk,” Feb. 17), one sentence clearly points out the failure of our cap-and-trade program.

As the article states: “The banked allowances are roughly equivalent to all the carbon the companies emit in a year and they so far exceed the emission cuts cap and trade is supposed to achieve by the time it expires in 2030.”

To buy their way into creating more carbon pollution, fossil fuel companies simply raise their prices (our $5 plus per gallon of gasoline for example) to buy more allowances. We pay more at the pump, so they can buy allowances, and pollute more.

A much more effective solution is a simple fee on fossil fuels paid at the mine, well or port of entry by the fossil fuel companies. Starting slowly at $20 and increasing annually by $10 will create growing market forces that will demonstrably lower use of fossil fuels by favoring renewable energy (without all the price changing red tape of ineffective cap-and-trade).

Coupled with a generous carbon dividend (as is now done in Canada), the program becomes socially just, assisting those in the lower 60% of income brackets to make the transition to sustainability.

The carbon fee and dividend is a bipartisan and revenue neutral solution. It needs to be part of congressional action to rescue us from on-going climate disasters. It is much better than the current program which allows companies to charge us more to pollute more.

— Richard L. Bailey, Novato