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Letter: Support carbon fee and dividend

Dave Reed
Carbondale

Randy Essex’s recent column gave a good analysis of current global energy trends, and came to the right conclusion – that now is a good time to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels.

I was particularly glad that he mentioned Garfield County’s efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewables. Economic diversification is always a good thing, and all the more so when one of your region’s chief products (natural gas) is non-renewable and will probably be played out in another generation.

Most locals don’t know this, but our county is widely regarded as a model of how to transition to a new energy economy, thanks to the partnership of Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER (Clean Energy Economy for the Region). The Garfield County commissioners are to be commended for funding this work. (I served on the CLEER board until recently.)

Making our buildings and communities more efficient requires long-term investment. But make no mistake, it is an investment, not charity: It pays a favorable rate of return in savings on energy costs, which then recirculate in the local economy to create more jobs and income.

The investment would pay off even more handsomely if we put an appropriate price on fossil fuels at the federal level. Removing subsidies and making fuels pay their fair share of the costs of their emissions would create a free and fair market in energy.

Taxing carbon and then returning the revenues to U.S. households in equal shares — a policy known as “carbon fee and dividend” — would not only cut emissions drastically, but would actually produce a net increase in jobs and GDP. As Randy wrote in his column, “Working earnestly to get off of oil now, while we have new breathing room, will enhance our security and economy in the long run.”

I urge Rep. Scott Tipton and our Senators to introduce carbon fee and dividend legislation in the next Congress. You can get more info on the policy by Googling Letter: Support carbon fee and dividend Citizens’ Climate Lobby.


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