In “Let Obama’s Clean Power Plan rest in peace” (Herald, Oct. 26), state Senator Ray Scott celebrates cancellation of the Clean Power Plan, but he deftly skirts the obvious topic of alternative solutions to address climate change.
One alternative, advocated by most economists and a growing number of conservative business and political leaders, is a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend program. Citizens’ Climate Lobby and the conservative Climate Leadership Council are proposing federal legislation that would tax carbon at the source (well, mine or port of entry), return all the dividends equally to U.S. households, and apply a border adjustment tariff to imports and exports to protect American businesses.
This idea addresses several issues raised by Senator Scott. It is a simple, market-based solution applied uniformly across the nation with border adjustments to keep Colorado industry and commerce competitive. Returning all revenues directly to consumers will have a stimulative effect on the economy. U.S. consumers would have clear economic incentive to make low-carbon purchases, sparking American business ingenuity to solve the problem of climate change.
It also minimizes the need for new government spending, bureaucracy or regulations. As a pure market-based solution, it should lead businesses to find the most efficient way of reducing carbon output. If coal can compete economically against natural gas and renewables in a fair market that correctly accounts for the costs of carbon, then coal-fired plants will prevail.
Carbon fee and dividend is a climate solution that’s good for our economy.