By setting up a false choice between maintaining Alaska’s economy and ending the use of fossil fuels, Rick Whitbeck intentionally confuses readers of his recent op-ed and tries to keep them from looking for genuine solutions. The truth is, we must both end heat-trapping emissions from fossil fuels and build a vibrant economy. The truth is, we can do both, and our best policy option is a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal in January, more than 3,500 U.S. economists have called for immediate action on global climate change. “Guided by sound economic principles,” they state that “A carbon tax offers the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the scale and speed that is necessary. By correcting a well-known market failure, a carbon tax will send a powerful price signal that harnesses the invisible hand of the marketplace to steer economic actors toward a low-carbon future. … A consistently rising carbon price will encourage technological innovation and large-scale infrastructure development. It will … promote economic growth and provide the regulatory certainty companies need for long-term investment in clean-energy alternatives. … To maximize the fairness and political viability of a rising carbon tax, all the revenue should be returned directly to U.S. citizens through equal lump-sum rebates. The majority of American families, including the most vulnerable, will benefit financially by receiving more in ‘‘carbon dividends’’ than they pay in increased energy prices.”
Best of all, legislation to enact this solution has already been introduced into Congress. Contact Congressman Don Young and Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and urge them to support H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, today.
— Tim Hinterberger
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