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Letter: A carbon tax would be great way to foster, fund cleaner energy

I appreciate George Donart’s Compass about a carbon tax (Wednesday). There is so much misunderstanding of the idea — and not by accident. A lot of money has been spent to confuse the issue of a tax-and-dividend program to reduce carbon consumption.

The idea is simple. Carbon-based energy is taxed at its source, whether wellhead, mine or port. This raises the price of carbon-based energy. But the tax is returned to Americans in the form of a check or tax deduction (I prefer the former). Every citizen gets money from the taxes collected. Unless you are a particularly heavy user you receive as much or more than you have paid in extra costs associated with the tax.

The tax will raise the cost of carbon-based energy, making other, more climate-friendly forms of energy more competitive. The sooner we transition to healthier forms of energy the more likely we will still have an intact climate.  Carbon tax-and-dividend programs have been studied and approved by economists worldwide for years. It’s time to put one in place.

— Jack Curtiss