A monthly dividend for every person

How would you feel about receiving a monthly dividend from the government based on a fee that discourages carbon emissions? This is the proposal the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), a national group with chapters in Carson City, Reno and Lake Tahoe, is proposing. The proposal is called Carbon Fee and Dividend.

At present, fossil fuel producers pay for only a small portion of the true costs of using their products. They don’t pay for health care costs we and our children incur from the increased carcinogens in our atmosphere (asthma, cancer, lung disease, etc.). They don’t pay for the increasing and unceasing costs of drought, flooding, severe storms, agricultural disruptions and rising ocean levels, etc.

The total economic costs of just one storm, Hurricane Katrina, are estimated at $250 billion. Insurers paid about $60 billion, leaving taxpayers to pay how much?

A fee placed on carbon emissions at the point of origin (mine, well, port of entry, etc.) would begin to fix this reality. That fee would then be shared with each person in the U.S. to help us pay for the increases the oil companies would pass onto us, the consumers. This dividend would be spent quickly by most recipients stimulating the economy and helping meet basic needs for those on low and/or fixed incomes. The fee would increase yearly as would the dividend paid to the taxpayers. The added cost of fossil fuels would encourage all of us to consume less of those carbon emitters.

As this carbon fee raises the price of fossil fuels, our state could continue its leadership role in producing renewable energy. The new solar-geothermal plant that was dedicated in Stillwater, Nev., is a prime example of clean energy jobs flowing to Nevada, and our leadership as a state in protecting our earth. With our abundant solar and geothermal resources, Nevada is in a perfect position to develop a clean energy economy, and a carbon fee and dividend would help set us on that path.

We each must begin to lobby our leaders as well as our friends to support this revenue neutral “Carbon Fee and Dividend” proposal to help minimize the worst impacts of climate change and to help grow our economy.

Midge Breeden lives in Carson City.


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