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To: US Congress and the Obama Administration
Fossil Fuel Use Fee and Dividend
The US government should pass an extensive fossil fuel use fee combined with a fossil fuel dividend that returns 95% of the fee revenues to the population equally.
Why is this important?
The level of fossil fuel pollution (chiefly CO2) in the atmosphere is already affecting the planet's climate and the amount continues to climb rapidly. The prospects for coming generations do not look good. Our grandchildren and theirs deserve a better planet to live on than the one we are now creating.
All of the programs that endeavor to reduce society's use of fossil fuels are aimed at specific targets and are like trying to change the course of a great river by shoving twigs into the bottom. Some of these endeavors may be quite successful but the fossil fuels industries and their customers quickly find ways around them. A universal response is needed if we are to stop the environmental and economic devastation that continued use of fossil fuels will bring. We need an economic dam across the face of our fossil fuel addiction.
To get everyone on board in reducing the amounts of fossil fuels they use, the government should get involved by legislating a fee/dividend combination. The fee, quite a harsh one, would be phased in over three years and would be levied against the amount of fossil fuel that came into the economy at the wellhead, mine entrance, or port of entry. That way everyone, from original producer to final customer, would be affected by the fee. 95% of the collected fees would be returned to the citizenry equally in the same way the Alaskan oil dividend is done now. The fee/dividend combination would penalize the greatest users of fossil fuels and reward those who used little. Everyone would be involved trying to maximize their economic advantage by minimizing the fees they paid. Once this dam was constructed, simple economic forces would entice each individual to use as little fossil fuels as possible.