To the editor:

The American Petroleum Institute last week endorsed carbon pricing or a tax on oil, gas and coal as a means to transition away from fossil fuels and address the climate crisis. Some say this endorsement by API is a cynical ploy to avoid the types of command and control policies anticipated by the Biden administration. However, since most first and second world countries now have some form of carbon tax it may simply be seeing the writing on the wall and vie for an even playing field within the world market.

In any case, a simple tax may have unintended consequences for poor and working class Americans. Witness the yellow jacket movement in France where thousands of blue collar workers reacted to a sudden increase in gas prices during their transition to cleaner fuel. This could and will happen here in America if such taxes are not carefully thought out.

The solution most palatable to congressional conservatives and business seems to be the Fee and Dividend approach. This does not involve heavy handed government regulations, bloated bureaucracies, targeted subsidies or new taxes.

Consider instead House Rule 763 Bipartisan Climate Change Solution or the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, now being considered by Congress.

Instead of a tax, a price or “fee” is put on carbon at the wellhead, mine or port of entry and all proceeds go back to individual households in the form of a dividend. The fee would initially be $15 per ton and raise $10 per year. Through this approach some 70% of households would see a net increase in their income, even with the higher initial costs of fossil fuel energy. Independent studies found dramatic reductions in carbon pollution and the reduction of some 230,000 premature deaths as well as net benefits to the U.S. economy including some 2.8 million new jobs.

Most nations of the world are aggressively seeking alternatives to fossil fuels.

The United States can ill afford to fall behind in our transition to advanced energy technologies.

Karl Forsberg


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