Carbon Dividends

Peter DeFazio states he will “aggressively push for Congress … to curb carbon emissions” (EW, Nov. 19). Rep. DeFazio has the opportunity to make good on that promise right now by supporting HR 7173, the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.”

This act will reduce U.S. carbon emissions at least 40 percent within 12 years while creating an estimated 2.1 million clean energy economy jobs, and will save lives and health care costs by improving air quality. The act works by putting a steadily rising fee on fossil fuel extraction, then returning these fees as a dividend to individuals to spend as they see fit.

This plan is progressive because lower-income households generally have a lower carbon footprint; businesses and individuals using the most carbon fuel will pay the majority of fees. In this market-based approach, the drive to create new innovative alternative technology will come from the rising cost of carbon fuel rather than, as DeFazio believes, the need for government to make massive investments in renewable energy.

Given our current political environment, “growing government” with new programs and regulations is a dead-in-the-water strategy. Meanwhile, C02 continues to pour into our atmosphere and rising temperatures continue to create climate disasters that cost us billions of dollars to mitigate.

HR 7173 was introduced by a bipartisan group of representatives who understand the need to work across the aisle if we are going to be serious about reducing carbon emissions now.

Betty Grant