Letter: Carbon fee would reduce emissions, add jobs
Last month, the congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment (NCA) reported that the impact of climate change is already being felt across the nation in the form of severe drought, rising sea level, extreme rain and wind storms, and wildfires. There is no longer any debate among responsible, credible climate scientists: They agree that the burning of fossil (carbon-based) fuel is a major cause of Earth’s warming climate.
Clearly, if energy currently produced by coal, natural gas and gasoline is to be reduced, alternative sources of energy must be identified and employed. The free market is the proper place for selecting which alternatives to build and where. In the free market, the true costs of fossil fuels—the costs of mitigation and recovery from the impacts of global warming plus the cost of production and distribution—must be considered.
A recent comprehensive study conducted by Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) finds that an excise fee on carbon can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while adding jobs to the economy—if the revenues are returned to households.
The REMI study started with an excise fee of $10 per ton on the carbon content of fossil fuels, increasing by $10 per ton annually. Revenue from the fee would not be used for government purposes, but would be returned to U.S. households in equal shares as direct monthly payments. Under this approach, recycling the revenue back into the economy would add 2.2 million jobs over 10 years, replacing jobs lost by imposing the fee. Resulting improvements in air quality would save 13,000 lives a year. Emissions would decline by 33 percent.
Readers should contact Congressman Rob Wittman and ask him to support this conservative, market-based solution to the problem of reducing carbon dioxide emitted by burning fossil fuel.