This past July was the wettest July on record in New Hampshire. At my house, along the banks of the Connecticut River, we had to tie our dock to trees to keep it from floating away during a particularly heavy rainstorm.
Because of the amount of carbon in our atmosphere, the climate events that we have been witnessing here in New Hampshire and all around the globe will continue to worsen, but by to what degree is still dependent on us. We still have a chance to stop emitting greenhouse gases and thus avoid the most catastrophic consequences.
How much is it worth to you to live in a more stable climate here in New Hampshire? To have fewer sweltering hot summer days, more winter days like the ones 50 years ago when snow was plentiful but the temperatures not too extreme and not varying from week to week? To have maple trees survive in New England? To have waterways that don’t flood every year, roads that don’t wash out, and fewer trees falling on electrical lines?
My answer: a lot. Yet, the cost to keep the earth’s climate livable is just pennies on a gallon of gas or heating oil or propane. Not only would the monetary cost to us be very small, we could even get a dividend rebated to us in the form of a regular check to all households in the country.
Administered by the IRS, a carbon tax collected on fossil fuel companies per ton of carbon they extract from the earth could be rebated back to us as laid out in the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act that is currently in Congress. This bill uses the power of the market to change behavior and help spur innovation into clean energy technologies.
Carbon tax and rebate (a.k.a. carbon fee and dividend or carbon cashback) is endorsed by over 3,600 of the world’s leading economists (see Wall Street Journal Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends published on Jan. 17, 2019) as the fastest, most equitable way to reduce emissions globally when you include a price on the carbon-intensity of imports at the border as Europe will begin transitioning to in 2023.
Pricing carbon works and at the speed necessary! We need a price on carbon now. We have no time to wait.