Here’s an irony for you: Rigorous public opinion polls consistently show that the American electorate supports action to combat climate change. Yet lawmakers put in office by the same electorate are, at least for the time-being, antagonistic toward government regulations that would do just that. Given the disconnect, is there a way to safeguard our children from the ravages of an altered atmosphere without heavy government interference?
Turns out, a great start would be pricing fossil fuels and other carbon-emitting substances to reflect their true cost to society. As things stand now, we pay only the short-term production costs, leaving our children to pay the long-term costs. Adding a predictably increasing fee to products that release carbon into the atmosphere can harness market forces to encourage renewables and discourage fossil fuels without additional government edicts.
Further, if these fees are returned to citizens in the form of a dividend, we’ll all be supported in making the necessary transition to a clean economy. Under the fee and dividend proposal from Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL), most folks, particularly those with lower income, would actually come out better. Only folks with higher income, who typically use more carbon to fuel their lifestyle, would pay more. Independent economic analyses also show that the carbon fee-dividend program increases employment. Check out CCL’ s common sense, non-partisan approach, and let your elected officials know. It’s a start toward a brighter future we can make today.