Sunday, June 8, 2008

carbon tax and 100% dividend

So while we're moving past the failed Lieberman-Warner climate bill, I've come across another way to get big stationary (and mobile ones too, it looks like) to cut their emissions without making basic needs such as energy unavailable to lower and middle classes. The idea is that you set up a number of credits that allow certain amount of CO2 to be emitted each year. The number of credits will decrease, and with it the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere. Companies will have to purchase these credits.

So far this doesn't sound too different from the standard Cap & Trade system that was in the Lieberman-Warner bill. But where these two ideas differ is what to do with the money collected from the carbon credits. The Dividend idea would return the money to the public. I'm guessing this is to help offset some of the increased costs of energy as a result of a realistic price on carbon.

What sort of bothers me about this idea is that we have to return the money to the public. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind a check coming in every month, but I can think of a ton of other uses for the money. I personally would favor taking the money and investing it in research grants and projects (NSF, DOE, etc...) instead of having some guy go out and buy a new plasma or iPod with it.

Maybe somebody has more info on this idea? I'd love to learn more about it.

Cross-posted at