“Climate change poses real threat to US” (by Terry Hansen, Reader Opinion, June 21) supports “carbon dividends,” a bill currently on the floor in Congress (H.R. 763). I do, too, but I’m also a supporter of the Green New Deal’s energy plan. I believe we will need both.
Carbon dividends would make the fossil fuel corporations that knowingly caused the climate crisis (scientificamerican.com, fortune.com, nytimes.com, insideclimatenews.org), pay to fix it, rather than passing those costs onto the American consumer and taxpayers.
I’m all for that, but the Green New Deal’s energy plan would make bigger and faster greenhouse-gas emissions cuts, and bigger and faster are critical now. We must make at least 50 percent cuts in our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 if we are to have any hope of preventing “catastrophic” climate change (National Academy of Sciences).
But there’s no reason why we can’t have both plans.
There’s a new, detailed, 38-page version of the GND’s energy plan from Washington’s Gov. Inslee, who is focusing his presidential campaign. Until now, no one has really known what the GND’s energy plan was. Inslee has literally written it: The Evergreen Economy Plan. (vox.com).
It shows that a rapid national transition to renewable energy doesn’t have to cost American consumers or taxpayers anything. Two-thirds of the cost will be paid by private investment. The rest will be more than offset by an annual increase of $500 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product (IPCC). That’s mainly because rapidly scaling up solar and wind will make them “essentially free” by 2030 (Financial Times, UBS, August 2018).
But adding carbon dividends to the GND/Evergreen plan would mean $350 billion more added to our GDP every year, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring of the bill. Canada’s used this form of carbon pricing successfully for a decade, and 95 percent of the world’s major economists, worldwide, conservative and liberal, support using money from corporate polluters to fight climate change (The Guardian). Carbon dividends is the one form of carbon pricing that gives all the carbon tax money directly to the taxpayers. You can see how the plan would work at citizensclimatelobby.org.
Working together, these two plans would likely create a clean-energy economy in the U.S. more quickly and more cheaply than either could do alone. Both plans are projected to create millions of high-wage, local, permanent, green jobs that will have good benefits (Stanford University’s solutionsproject.org.)
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