With carbon tax refunded to consumers, jobs would actually grow

The June 27 Earth Journal article, “As Gore charts progress on climate, new risk analysis paints dire scenarios,” does an excellent job of summarizing the projections in the new “Risky Business” report [PDF] about the crushing economic burden climate change will create. The longer we wait to do something about it, the more it’s going to cost.

The opposition to reducing emissions has been the assumption that it will be a “job killer.” Now another new economic report [PDF], this one from REMI, shows that a fee-and-dividend carbon tax would, in fact, create 2.8 million net U.S. jobs and increase GDP $75-80 billion annually while cutting emissions more and faster than EPA regulations.

The plan studied is a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee [PDF] based on the carbon-dioxide content of fossil fuels. The money would go to consumers, a monthly check in the mail. Lower-income and middle-class Americans come out ahead or at least break even. The fee increases annually, making fossil fuels more and more expensive than solar and wind energy. People use their carbon fee money to buy clean energy. The fee also applies to carbon polluters like China, so they’re forced to cut emissions to compete, while Americans get that import fee and could buy U.S. products with it.

The National Academy of Sciences website says that over 97 percent of scientists agree climate change is manmade and without major CO2 emission cuts within the next 15 years we’ll face “catastrophic” climate change. Even if we could stop all carbon emissions tomorrow, our emissions today won’t heat up and effect us for about four decades. And the emissions we’re creating won’t dissipate for millennia. That’s why fast climate action is imperative.

The Citizens Climate Lobby website has more on this revenue-neutral market-driven plan. It’s supported by most economists, Republican and Democratic, including eight Nobel Prize winners.

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