The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion A ‘carbon fee’ and dividend: A dangerous environmental policy

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) campaigns in Richmond, Calif., on Monday.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) campaigns in Richmond, Calif., on Monday. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

The Feb. 14 news article “Fastest way to cut carbon emissions is a ‘fee’ and dividend, top leaders say” highlighted “a group of prominent politicians, economists and corporate executives” calling for a “carbon fee” and dividend.

The political/economic/corporate cabal that has protected the moneyed fossil-fuel industry from carbon dioxide regulation is the last group we should be listening to in the existential climate situation. This group had the power and the knowledge to hold the industry to account 30 years ago and instead sided with corporate disinformation and delay.

A carbon fee that is collected and reimbursed via taxpayer expense, taxed via the Treasury and extolled as a quid pro quo so the industry can exempt itself from emissions regulation is dangerous environmental policy. It is industry-serving economic suicide for Americans as the producers profit with subsidies and loopholes.

This influential and well-funded group has conveniently left out climate realities. No amount of fee and dividend that pays us to hasten our earthly demise is worth trading for regulation that rightly puts the onus and costs on the producers of a dangerous product.

Julie A. Wash, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

In his Feb. 14 op-ed, “Bernie Sanders, magical thinking and climate change,” Fareed Zakaria gave me another reason to be a Never Bernie Democrat. He pointed out that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, wants “to rapidly shut down all gas plants.”

I have lived comfortably in the same house in the same neighborhood for 50 years. Natural gas comfortably heats the house, heats the hot water and cooks the food. It even dries our clothes. A hundred years ago, that undoubtedly would have been labeled magical thinking.

Ironically, to get rid of natural gas is another example of Democratic magical thinking that could give us four more years of you know what.

Jack Shilkret, Arnold

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