Letter to the editor: Carbon tax: Give it back to people

When you publish articles about carbon tax proposals (as you did in the Jan. 31 issue), please include information about how any such proposal would return the revenue to the citizens. For example, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act being supported by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby calls for all of the money collected by a carbon fee to be returned to all citizens on a monthly basis in equal shares, to spend as they see fit — none of the money would be kept by the government.
There are other proposals, both national and in Vermont, which handle the dividend differently, but any real carbon tax or fee proposal has to have a plan for how to return the revenue to the general public.
The devil is in the details, of course: how do you make sure rural residents are treated equitably in whatever arrangement is under consideration? There are ways to do this, and we should have a robust discussion about the best way. But the need to work through the details should not deter us from deciding to raise the cost of carbon pollution to a level that will actually lead to reductions in CO2 production.
I have tremendous faith in the ingenuity of our people to figure out how to reduce their use of fossil fuels, when faced with the true cost of carbon pollution.
Richard Hopkins

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