By now, the great majority of people know that climate change is real, and its effects are greatly worsened by our use of fossil fuels.
Recent readings from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that even though carbon dioxide emissions have fallen sharply during the pandemic, atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas still hit a record high last month, at an annual average of just over 417 parts per million, UP slightly from May 2019.
So the crisis needs a truly effective response, and to my mind and to thousands of others as well, the best approach is to put a fee on carbon, at the source, with the funds raised going not to the government but back to America's utility ratepayers in the form of monthly dividend checks.
The group Citizens Climate Lobby, with a newly formed chapter in Winchester, supports just such a federal bill, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, currently in Congress. The fee under the bill would steadily increase annually, giving fossil fuel producers an incentive to switch to alternative forms of energy. The fee would gradually lessen as utilities and other carbon producers effect that changeover.
There are exemptions for military and agricultural uses of fossil fuels. As thousands of economists agree, this approach shows by far the most promise of any legislation in attacking this existential issue.