The Paris climate talks are concluded and our situation could not be more clear. The cold hard facts are that to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the world must convert to a carbon-free economy by 2050.
The central problem is that presently we can freely emit any amount of CO2 into the atmosphere with no costs even though the emissions are doing immense damage. Fossil fuels are now cheaper than renewables only because we do not pay for the damage that they are doing; we pass that cost on to our children and grandchildren.
A revenue neutral carbon fee, like that in British Columbia, is the most sensible way to decrease our carbon emissions. A gradually increasing fee is applied (at the mine or wellhead) to all fossil fuels, and all money collected is returned to taxpayers equally.
This will stimulate the economy and provide incentive for businesses and individuals to search for low carbon alternatives. Our best hope of keeping our planet livable is for government to set the economic rules so that the full creative force of capitalism is working on this problem. For details search Citizens’ Climate Lobby — carbon fee and dividend.
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Lyle Yager, Pismo Beach