On April 20, the Waterville City Council approved a resolution asking Congress to support a carbon cash-back bill, which charges a fee for fossil fuels at the well or mine, and returns all that money to every American citizen in the form of a monthly dividend check. It would increase the price of fossil fuels and incentivize the shift to renewable energy. Congress’s efforts to date have not decreased greenhouse gas emissions, but this approach would reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 30% within just five years.

Misconceptions during the City Council meeting: First, this is not income distribution. This fee is a pollution penalty based on how much fossil fuels we choose to use, to pay for the true, hidden cost of fossil fuels, including the cost of the resulting greenhouse gases and the terribly expensive weather catastrophes they cause.

Second, we can trust the government to collect this money and return it to every American. This carbon-fee money would be placed in a trust fund for American citizens, and Congress has the ability to set up safeguards to ensure that no one could mess with this money.

The carbon cash-back approach would work better than any other approach currently being considered to reduce climate change. And importantly, this is a market-based approach that does not keep our money, which should make it acceptable to Republicans.

Delaying action puts our children at risk. If we want this effective approach, we have to tell our federal representatives to support it.


Richard Thomas


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