Daniel Palken: Support for carbon fee and dividend

I‘m writing to echo Lynate Pettengill‘s call for a carbon fee and dividend program. Colorado will continue to be one of the states that suffers the most, economically and ecologically, as climate change continues to wreak its havoc on our beautiful mountain landscapes, with snow shortages in the winter and fires in the summer.

The difficult thing about climate change is that it‘s a global problem, and solutions therefore have to be massive and collective, in order to be effective. A national carbon fee fits the bill because it would be placed on all domestically extracted fuels that emit greenhouse gases. This would cause the prices of all goods across the economy to rise in exact proportion to how environmentally harmful it is to get them to market. But lest it sound as though this would just make for a society in which everything costs more, and everyone is less well off, the money raised is then returned equally to all citizens as a dividend. This redistributes wealth to people who use less fuel, which on balance benefits the poor, while also helping the planet.

Lastly, a carbon fee and dividend program is not merely a national solution. Any policy worth its weight in CO2 would also place a border adjustment fee on goods, where the best estimate of the carbon cost of the good is levied as it crosses the border. But, crucially, this would only apply to goods from countries without similar carbon taxation schemes. In this way, the U.S. would be able to apply leverage its presence as the world‘s largest economy in order to promote emissions-reducing policies worldwide.

Daniel Palken

Boulder