#9. Carbon Capping
If we have any hope of averting the most dangerous consequences of climate change, we need to drastically reduce our carbon emissions by up to 80% of 1990 levels by the middle of the century. But putting a cap on carbon will exert a price on consumers, as fuel and electricity will likely become more expensive until alternative energy becomes fully competitive. Opponents of capping say that it will amount to a regressive tax, borne most heavily by the least well off. But Peter Barnes and the Tomales Bay Institute have an answer for that. They argue that, rather than being given away to industry, the permit to emit greenhouse gas should be sold by the government to companies that burn carbon and that the proceeds should be kicked back to ordinary Americans in the form of a tax refund. That policy could be both environmentally effective and politically viable.
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