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Climate Dividends: the most viable means of reducing carbon emissions across the globe by 70% by 2050

Posted by RebeccaK on March 22, 2017

Lightly Treading has recently learned about an elegantly straightforward strategy to significantly reduce the discharge of carbon pollution into the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans from a group of conservative Republicans through their newly created Climate Leadership Council (www.Clcouncil.org). This organization includes George Schulz (Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan) and James Baker III (Secretary of Treasury under Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State under George H. W. Bush).


Their proposal is to have the marketplace finally account for the long-standing “externality” (i.e., a cost not included within normal accounting practices) of the impact on the planet of Carbon Dioxide (CO²) coming from the burning of oil, coal and natural gas. CO² emissions from burning fossil fuels have been the most significant source of increasing the atmospheric levels of C02 from a historic range of 172 ppm to 300 ppm (parts-per-million) over the last 400,000 years but beginning in approximately 1900 until today in 2017 the current atmospheric levels have risen to 403ppm! The Climate Leadership Council’s proposal is to start with $40/ton of CO² fee (tax) which gradually increases until effectively reducing U.S. (and global) emissions by 70% by the year 2050 per the Paris Climate Agreement. This fee will be paid by the companies who sell petroleum (i.e., oil extraction companies and refineries), coal (coal mining companies) and natural gas (extraction companies). These companies will pass on the fees (estimated to raise gasoline by $0.38 to $0.42/gallon on the $40/ton fee) to consumers raising the cost of fossil fuel energy. In order to keep this from being a true “tax” the money raised is set to come back to each, and every, U.S citizen, with Social Security number, as a quarterly dividend. The Council states that the bottom 70% of U.S. income earners would see a modest increase in the money in their pockets under this proposal. Specifically, they state the bottom 10% of people would see ~9% increase in income and the middle 50% earners would see ~1% increase in their income.


In exchange for this fee, the Council is requesting all carbon emission related regulations (i.e., the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan) be removed from EPA oversight. We see this as a very reasonable compromise because in our 20 years in the business of energy-efficiency and 30 years of being concerned about climate change, we’ve consistently seen more energy-efficiency improvements done in homes and business; let alone the purchases of more fuel-efficient vehicles go up, when energy prices have been higher. During these 30 years we’ve been waiting for the conservative segment of U.S. political philosophy to come up with a plan to conserve the health and multigenerational prosperity of all of Earth’s inhabitants; and we believe the Climate Leadership Council has come up with that plan.


After watching their “Council Launch Event” video and/or reading their “Unlocking the Climate Puzzle” on their website you join us in being hopeful about this proposal moving forward in-spite of the chaos in Washington D.C. Please write your 1) U.S. Senators (both of them can be found at www.senate.gov/senators/contact) and your U.S. Congress-person at www.house.gov/representatives/find to ask them 1) do they know about Climate Leadership Council’s proposal and 2) do they plan to author, or at least support, this as legislation once it comes to the House and Senate?


Comment below with your feedback and feel free to share some/all of this information with your friends who want to see progress made in combating this form of pollution being released into our atmosphere.


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