It’s clearly evident – from stronger and more frequent storms and floods, unprecedented heat waves, and rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities – that Climate Change is occurring.  Unless humans sharply curtail putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we are in for catastrophic climatic changes that will destabilize crucial aspects of all life on Earth.

hile other nations have governmental policies that put a price on carbon to begin to address Climate Change, one group of politicians in the US has persisted in treating the burgeoning existential crisis as though it was just another political debate.

While some positive movement in the House of Representatives has begun, there is still misunderstanding about one of the proposed bills in the House. Passage and implementation of the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” (HR 763) would not result in a tax on consumers.

It would impose an annually-increasing fee on fossil fuels to be paid – at the source – by companies that use these fuels in creating their products.  The money collected through these fees would be distributed in monthly installments to American households on a per capita basis.

So, when the companies that use fossil fuels in their products raise their prices (as they naturally will) American consumers will have money in their pockets to meet the price increases.  And, as the price of fossil fuels increases, those companies seeking to widen their profit margins will increasingly turn to renewable energy sources and bio-based materials to replace oil and coal.

This is a market-based approach that is endorsed by over 3,500 economists across the political spectrum and would reduce US carbon emissions by 40 percent in the first 12 years after implementation.  It would be a good first step in tackling the problem.

Tom Berry