Letter: A carbon tax we can all support
September 16, 2014
We appreciated Peter Jaycox's letter responding to Citizens Climate Lobby's ongoing efforts ("Climate change is big business," Sept. 10, The Aspen Times).
We would like to take the opportunity to clarify a few points of confusion so that this important discussion can continue to be based on accurate information.
First, Citizens Climate Lobby is primarily a volunteer organization. All of us donate our time to the effort and are not staff nor paid in any way for our efforts.
Secondly, under the "carbon fee and dividend" policy that Citizens Climate Lobby advocates, all revenues collected from the fee on carbon fuels are paid equally to all American households; the dividend doesn't favor any particular income bracket. Two-thirds of Americans will find that their real income actually grows over time under the carbon fee and dividend plan.
A carbon tax we can all support.
As Jaycox's letter affirms, this is counterintuitive to the old paradigm that says that the economy and the environment can't improve together. Under fee and dividend, protecting the environment will actually improve our economy thanks to increased and localized consumer spending due to the dividend.
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Finally, Jaycox rightly introduces the important issue of methane, which is indeed a highly potent greenhouse gas. Here in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, and in other natural-gas-producing regions, a correctly set fee on methane based on the amount of carbon dioxide with equivalent heat-trapping potential could reduce fugitive emissions at wellheads.
Jaycox hints at bigger cultural shifts that mean putting a price on carbon would lead to more innovation to turn waste into fuel and to use resources efficiently and elegantly. We, too, look forward to unleashing the brilliant ideas of American engineers, inventors and everyday folk. Taxing what we want less of (fossil fuels) is the classical, conservative economic approach to promoting innovation toward the solutions we want.
It's scary to admit that 7 billion human beings could be disrupting the earth's natural cycles. The climate has indeed been both warmer and cooler than the present time many times in the past 4 billion years, but never has it changed so quickly when so many human beings depended on its stability and predictability.
If 95 percent of climate scientists are wrong and we create a healthier middle class, clean up our air and reduce geopolitical conflict over fossil-fuel resources worldwide, who is going to complain?
Barb Coddington, Michael Gorman, Lucy Kessler, Sarah Morehouse, Amelia Potvin, Dave Reed and Peter Westcott
Citizens Climate Lobby, Roaring Fork chapter