In favor of carbon tax

Re: The editorial in the Feb. 11 The Detroit News, “Clean Power Plan stay a hollow win”: Those who don’t like the “behemoth regulatory proposal” called the Clean Power Plan are being called on to propose an alternative. The idea is that regardless of uncertainties regarding climate change, doing nothing is not an option because there is far too much at stake.

An alternative that attracts many who are against big government is a price on carbon. Its market-based approach lets fossil fuels phase out as they gradually increase in price, while spurring innovation in renewables. Industry benefits from reduced energy price volatility due to a steady and predictable rise in carbon fees. Consumers benefit from price signals to guide them toward sustainable products and lifestyles.

Even legislators pledged to fight new taxes can support a price on carbon, when the fees collected are distributed back to citizens in the form of dividends. This is the proposal of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

George Shultz, former secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, is a supporter of the plan. He calls for leveling the playing field, by making “all forms of energy bear not only their immediate costs of energy, but also the costs of the pollution they emit,” via a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Economic analyses show this plan would both cut carbon emissions and prosper our economy. This is great news.

Those fearful of change in patterns of employment should remember that with change comes opportunity. A case in point: my great-grandfather was a renowned carriage-maker. Surely it was a hardship when autos put him out of business. But the family moved into other professions and prospered. People can adapt. To cling to fossil fuel jobs is to hold us all back from the bright future powered by clean energy which is within our reach, and is our right.

A hugely hopeful sign is the new bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. Surely they will — sooner than later, I hope — embrace the concept of a price on carbon. It is by far the most promising solution: both because it will work (i.e. reduce carbon emissions while strengthening our economy), and because it stands a chance — through its appeal that cuts across ideological divides.

The Climate Solutions Caucus follows on the heels of the groundbreaking Gibson Resolution, sponsored by Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., and signed by 12 Republican members of Congress, which supports economically viable solutions to address climate change. Finally, momentum is growing on both sides of the aisle.

Regardless of party, no one wants next generations to suffer because of our shortsightedness. We must find common ground, and boldly take action we can agree on. Staying the course is a non-solution that has potential for devastating consequences.

Barbara Lucas, Ann Arbor

Different take on Scalia

Re: The Feb. 15 editorial in The Detroit News, “ Scalia stood for the Constitution”: While the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia was shocking and sad, your editorial was, in many respects, in error.

If he was such an advocate for interpreting the Constitution as it was written, tell me how the Bush vs. Gore and the Citizens United decisions weren’t influenced by his personal views? And, his response when many questioned his vote that handed Bush the presidency was get over it.

He might have been intelligent, but if anyone legislated from the bench, it was Scalia.

James Caris, Livonia

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