As a new Eugene resident, I am impressed with the bike paths, greenspace and interest in creating a sustainable community. I believe this progress could be increased with the passage of a national carbon tax and dividend. For many decades, government has subsidized the extraction and use of fossil fuels, which has artificially propped up these sources of energy. Meanwhile, all of us suffer the negative impacts from the combustion of these fuel sources: air and water pollution, limited transportation choices, heat waves and wildfires.
So why would taxing carbon be helpful? When the price of a commodity goes up, it causes a reconsideration of its cost and pursuit of alternatives. A carbon tax on fossil fuels starts at a low rate and gradually increases over time, thus spurring a transition off of these dirty fuels and onto development and use of clean energy sources. An added benefit is that this fee, which captures some of the true cost of burning carbon, is then returned to individuals as a dividend. The United States lags behind most developed countries, which have already implemented some form of carbon taxing, so we need to catch up. The latest scientific report on Climate Change warns that this is the decisive decade to protect our beloved Earth.
Let’s help all of our communities be less reliant on fossil fuels and achieve a 50 percent cut in carbon pollution by 2030. Please call your representatives to support a carbon tax and dividend.