On Nature: Carbon Fee and Dividend

On Nature: David Voigts

If we are ever going to stop the warming of the Earth, we must find ways to reduce the burning of fossil fuels. One proposal growing in popularity is to encourage the use of clean energy by putting a fee on the carbon emissions from fossil fuels. The collected fees would be returned to citizens by way of a dividend (minus administrative costs).

Since everyone would receive the same monthly dividend, those who use smaller amounts of fossil fuels would benefit the most. According to information from the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, about two-thirds of Americans would receive more in dividends than they would pay in higher prices for energy from fossil fuels.

Putting a fee on fossil fuel emissions is attractive in its simplicity – no burdensome regulations or bureaucracies, and fairness – all users of fossil fuels would pay the same fee per ton of emitted carbon dioxide. This not only creates a level playing field for all sources of energy, but it also informs consumers of the true costs of different kinds of energy. This proposal has been introduced in Congress, and it may be included in the reconciliation bill. I am encouraging you to let Congress know that you support a carbon fee and dividend.

David Voigts is a retired ecologist and the current Conservation Chair for the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society. He is a Tama County native, graduating from Dinsdale High School, and lives in rural Jesup on his wife’s family farm.