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Reader's view: Carbon pollution fee uses market forces, not regulations

A Jan. 24 "Pro/Con" feature asked, "Should states raise gas taxes to curb global warming?" Economics professor Mark Price said "no" because it would "clobber customers," and he was right about that. A carbon tax would do that. But it seems Price ...

A Jan. 24 “Pro/Con” feature asked, “Should states raise gas taxes to curb global warming?” Economics professor Mark Price said “no” because it would “clobber customers,” and he was right about that. A carbon tax would do that. But it seems Price has never heard of a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, which would return all revenue from the fee to every American every month. It’s supported by most major economists, including eight Nobel Prize winners.
There has been a working model in British Columbia for more than five years that The Economist called “a success.” It’s simple and transparent, unlike cap-and-trade, and it uses market forces rather than government regulations, and “no new taxes,” so it’s something conservatives could support. President Ronald Reagan’s Treasury Secretary George Schultz is a vocal proponent.
The plan actually would put extra cash into the pockets of middle-class and lower-income Americans while creating
2.8 million net jobs and adding $75 billion to $80 billion to the GDP annually. By increasing the pollution fee every year, we’d make fossil fuels increasingly more expensive than clean energy, using market forces rather than complicated government regulations to make the switch to renewables.
Price does get another thing right: the fact that statewide actions on climate have no real effect. However, a national carbon fee could phase out fossil fuels in the U.S., and the same fee on imports from carbon polluters like China would force them to cut their emissions to compete. They reduce their emissions; we lower their import fees. Their business model depends on selling to us. Refunding that import fee to Americans would allow them to better afford American products, reviving our manufacturing sector.
Lynn Goldfarb
Lancaster, Penn.
To learn more, the writer suggests a two-minute YouTube video called “Fix Climate in Two Minutes For Free” and a visit to the Citizens Climate Lobby website, citizensclimatelobby.org.

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