Letter to the Editor

Reader: GOP should answer Obama's climate challenge

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In his State of the Union address the President said, "For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change," and "If Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will." Meaning more EPA regulation.

Obama is right about the necessity for immediate action. 2012 was the hottest year ever, fueling weather disasters across the nation. The recent National Climate Assessment provides over a thousand pages of peer reviewed confirmation that yes, the Earth is in fact warming rapidly with effects all around us NOW, that it's mostly caused by burning fossil fuels, that it's bad for people, that the scientists are in agreement, and that solutions exist but progress has been inadequate so far.

Republicans who wish to avoid more regulation should embrace the free- market approach of a revenue- neutral fee on carbon with 100% rebate back to legal residents.

What would such a carbon feebate program look like?

1. Start with a fee on coal, oil, and gas of $15 per ton on CO2 that each fuel will emit when burned. The result at the gas pump would be an additional 13 cents per gallon.

2. Increase the fee by $10 a ton each year.

3. Collect the fee at the fuel's first point of sale -- the mine, wellhead or port of entry.

4. Take all the fees and divide them up equally among legal residents and return them as monthly dividends using direct deposit or check.

5. To protect American businesses from unfair foreign competition, apply border tariffs on goods coming in from countries that do not have comparable carbon pricing.

This gives everybody both the incentive and the means to use fuels smarter. No increased regulation, no big bank shenanigans, no government subsidies. Simple, effective, conservative, and market-based. Weatherization and renewable energy jobs are local jobs that can't be outsourced.

The revenue neutral carbon feebate is the best approach for fixing the climate. Both Republicans and Democrats should support it. Ask U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, Sen. John Boozman and Sen. Mark Pryor what will it be: Obama's big government regulation or a family-friendly, market-based, revenue-neutral carbon feebate solution?

-- JERRY LANDRUM

Eureka Springs