Use the market to fight climate change

Updated 11/7/2021 4:23 PM

Congress is finally discussing putting a climate package in place for the USA. We get daily reports of various proposals to be included in the Build Back Better reconciliation package. Climate action is desperately needed to head off certain disaster if we fail to change our ways. But many suggestions in Congress are already failures or are too little, too late. The one change that is likely to work is to put a tax on carbon when it comes out of the ground and return that money to the people as a dividend.

Carbon Fee and Dividend is a well-researched process and every step in its workings has already been done for other purposes. We know where all the mines and wells are, we know where all the citizens are and we know how to cut them a check. Most other proposals either require some unknown scientific magic like carbon capture, or they require new and complex government rules to assess varying fees by usage and value. China has spent years on that and has years to go to finish it.


Carbon fee and dividend could be up, running and effective in a year or two. Every other proposal would take a decade. We don't have a decade. There are three extreme storms over the USA as I write this. Citizen's Climate lobby has offered model bills for many years, the latest of which has 87 sponsors on the House. Sen. Durbin submitted his own Carbon Fee and Dividend bill, and there have been others. Congress must incorporate this into the new law and get it passed. We must use the market to make carbon fuels obsolete.

Mark Muehlhausen


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