Aligning themselves with the history of Republican support for the environment — national parks (Theodore Roosevelt), the EPA (Richard Nixon), the Montreal Protocol on ozone (Ronald Reagan), and dealing with acid rain (George H.W. Bush) — the rapidly expanding group Students for Carbon Dividends is embracing action on climate as a bridge issue with the younger generation.

Over 100 Republican, Democratic and environmental groups on college campuses, including those at Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin, agree that dealing with the climate is of vital importance, and the best way to do that is to charge a fee on fossil fuels, all of which would be used to provide a dividend to all American families equally.

The overwhelming consensus among economists is that even if we were not concerned about the climate, the economic pressure generated by such a fee would spur innovation and give us cleaner air, more jobs, and more economic equality, while reducing dependence on foreign sources of fuel and thus building greater security. Economists see it as the only way to power the necessary and rapid transition from fossil fuel use, made more difficult by our failure to address this problem in the past.

Among the climate bills presently before Congress, H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, with 66 congressional cosponsors, is the only one that refunds all fees in the form of a dividend. It is similar to legislation sought by the Climate Leadership Council, a group of business and former government officials.

If our elected representatives care about the future of our children they should heed both economists and scientists and pass legislation that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and ensures all of us a more stable climate.


Philippa Solomon


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