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Fee and Dividend

One of the effects of the global depression is that economic calculations based on restraining a growing world now do not work as designed. This is very true for climate change policies. For instance, when fossil energy use is falling faster than a carefully applied and tightening ‘Cap’, the value of emission permits have no market value. Jim Hansen, has managed this scenario change by recasting his support for Peter Barne’s ‘Cap and Dividend’ idea – very similar to our Feasta ‘Cap and Share’ – as ‘Fee and Dividend’ in this Huffington Post article entitled

“G-8 Failure Reflects U.S. Failure on Climate Change on the 9th July”. 

“There is an alternative, of course, and that is a carbon fee, applied at the source (mine or port of entry) that rises continually. I prefer the “fee-and-dividend” version of this approach in which all revenues are returned to the public on an equal, per capita basis, so those with below-average carbon footprints come out ahead.

A carbon fee-and-dividend would be an economic stimulus and boon for the public. By the time the fee reached the equivalent of $1/gallon of gasoline ($115/ton of CO2) the rebate in the United States would be $2000-3000 per adult or $6000-9000 for a family with two children.

Fee-and-dividend would work hand-in-glove with new building, appliance, and vehicle efficiency standards. A rising carbon fee is the best enforcement mechanism for building standards, and it provides an incentive to move to ever higher energy efficiencies and carbon-free energy sources. As engineering and cultural tipping points are reached, the phase-over to post-fossil energy sources will accelerate. Tar sands and shale would be dead and there would be no need to drill Earth’s pristine extremes for the last drops of oil.”

This section is part of a very sharp critique of the final shape of the US Waxman Markey Bill which he claims has been hijacked by fossil energy business.

Posted in Land Taxation, News.

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