Phase Out Fossil Fuels: The Best Solution

Climate change is real and ignoring it won’t solve the disastrous problems it will bring.  There are many actions necessary but chief among them is the switch to non-fossil energy.  Presently fossil fuels are cheap because the price does not take into account the collateral damage extracting and using them does. This post describes a realistic market-driven solution to accelerate the transition: Carbon Fee and Dividend.


 

The animation shows the progress of installed wind capacity between 1999 and 2015. (Source: NREL)

 

Proposed federal legislation for Carbon Fee and Citizen Dividend (CF&D)

  • puts a carbon fee of $15/ton of CO2 emitted on fossil fuels at the source (well, mine, port of entry)
  • increases that fee $10/ton of CO2 every year for 10 years
  • returns all the money collected to American households on an equal basis MONTHLY (e.g., $288/month for a family of 4 with 2 adults by 2025 or $396/month by 2035)
  • allows the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy (wind, solar, biomass) to happen in a predicable, incremental way that works for businesses and investors

 

According to the independent Regional Economic Modeling Inc. (REMI) report, this Carbon Fee and Citizen Dividend would:

  • cause CO2 emissions to decline 33% after 10 years
    (52% after 20 years)—relative to a baseline of $0/ton of CO2
  • increase national employment by 2.1 million jobs in 10 years
    (2.8 million jobs after 20 years)
  • increase GDP by $70-$85 billion from 2020 on, with a cumulative increase in national GDP due to CF & D of $1.375 TRILLION
  • save 13,000 lives per year after 10 years
  • allow market forces to accelerate change and be easier for businesses than DOE’s Clean Power regulations
  • not grow government bureaucracy

NOTE:  The REMI study used a starting fee of $10/ton, so results from the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) proposal that starts at $15/ton would actually be better. (Source:  www.citizensclimatelobby.org  – For a 1-hour informational call that explains all this, every Wed. night at 8pm ET)

 

Think it can’t be done?

  • In the last 5 years the price of solar panels has fallen 75% (rural Bangladesh has as many as 80,000 new solar connections a month—15 million Bangladeshis already live in solar-powered houses)
  • TX is #1 in the nation in wind power (the USA already generates 66,008 megawatts by wind)
  • Reagan’s Secretary of State George P. Shultz promotes Carbon Fee & Dividend (he’s on CCL’s Board) and says this proposal supports “the best conservative principles—prudence, practicality and a reverence for free enterprise”
  • Even those who harbor doubts about climate change should accept that the cautious, conservative thing to do is to hedge against risks (the Carbon Fee & Dividend approach might be seen as an insurance policy)

Fossil fuel subsidies from 2002-2008 exceeded subsidies to “renewable” projects by a factor of 5:1. Over the next 10 years there are over $158 billion in potential fossil fuel subsidies. Let’s eliminate all subsidies, and let the market decide!

Further Information

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency has published extensive data on Greenhouse Gasses. Almost a third of methane emissions, many times more damaging than carbon dioxide, come from Natural Gas and Petroleum Systems (29%). (click)
  • Researchers have concluded that fracking speeds up human-caused climate change due to leaks of methane. (click)

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