By David S. Vogel and Thais Lopez Vogel, VoLo Foundation
Carbon dioxide emissions account for a substantial amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Science shows the planet is warming. Data tells the story of an American economy devastated by increasing natural disasters and heat-induced health emergencies.
Normally, when it comes to environmental issues, political parties determine whether the issue is supported. The subject of carbon emissions, however, is bipartisan because climate drawdown and mitigating the risks of global warming are proposed by both sides of the aisle.
Carbon fee policy with a dividend is a solution that gives a significant advantage to taxpayers.
Think of the atmosphere like a football stadium, with a limited capacity for the number of people it can safely hold. For example, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami has a listed capacity of 65,000. Although you could pack many more people into the venue, letting in more than the structure can handle will risk the health and safety of everyone inside.
Similarly, there is a limited amount of carbon dioxide the atmosphere can safely hold before the stability of the climate and the Earth’s ability to sustain our civilization is put at risk. Managing this limited capacity is the central challenge of the climate crisis.
Carbon pricing in its simplest form is a cost applied to carbon pollution to encourage polluters to reduce their emissions and invest in clean energy. If a carbon tax rate of $40 per ton is assessed to oil and gas companies, many Republicans and Democrats agree the fees and taxes collected should be given back to American taxpayers in the form of carbon dividends.
This comes out to roughly $2,000 per year per family of four. As the legislation stands now, most taxes on carbon consumption fall heavily on the nation’s lowest-income earners, but a dividend would change that.
Carbon fee and dividend policy is a glimmer of hope for the environmental future of our planet and generations to come. Learn more at volofoundation.org and contact your state as well as your city representative to find out what is being done locally to support and enact a carbon policy.
David S. Vogel and Thais Lopez Vogel are co-founders and trustees of VoLo Foundation, a non-profit foundation focused on science-based climate solutions, education and health.
“The Invading Sea” is the opinion arm of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.