As Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman make clear in their recent book, “Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet”: “Putting a proper price on carbon isn’t a question of if, it’s a question of when.”
It is essential to have “a high enough price on carbon to reflect its true cost to society.”
We know that the cost to our global commons from burning fossil fuels is very high indeed: rising global temperatures, drought, melting glaciers, increased severity of tropical storms and ocean acidification.
Taxpayers currently subsidize the oil industry by as much as $4.8 billion a year, with about half of that going to the big-five oil companies — Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and ConocoPhillips.
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The best way to sharply reduce CO2 emissions is to put a high price on carbon through a revenueneutral carbon fee and dividend program, returning the proceeds to all American households equally.
According to a report from Regional Economic Models Inc., taxing car bon and returning the revenue directly to households will create millions of jobs in 20 years and reduce greenhouse emissions by half.
Putting a price on carbon makes good sense for the economy and the environment.