“How may I be of service Mr. President?” Econman asked.
“So glad you’re here,” said the president, pumping Econ’s hand. “We’re in a pickle; you may be the only one who can help us. Next month we’re off to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. We need to bring with us a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some like the idea of putting a price on carbon-based fuels. Economists say that would drive the marketplace to create emission-reducing technologies.
But here’s the problem. Putting a fee on carbon will also raise energy prices. I don’t want to damage the economy, and we’ve got to protect our citizens, especially the poor, from higher energy costs. On the other hand, if we don’t lower our carbon emissions we’re toast. I’m stumped! How can we price carbon, protect the poor and still grow the economy?”
“That’s a tough one; I’ll get right on it Sir,“ Econman pondered.
Deep inside his subterranean lair, Econman buried himself in data and statistics. Days later, bleary-eyed, his rumpled cape trailing dust bunnies, Econman emerged muttering something about “embedded emissions.”
Later – “You see Mr. President, for most Americans direct purchase of fuels like gasoline is only about 1/3 of their total carbon emissions. Two-thirds is embedded in the products and services they buy. Most of us don’t realize that each purchase reflects an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. And that’s the key!
To reduce our carbon footprints AND grow the economy we’ll put a fee on carbon and then return all revenues collected as dividends to the people. Those dividends will more than offset higher fuel costs for about 2/3s of Americans. That’s because only the top 1/3 have enough money to buy all that embedded-emissions STUFF. The dividends will leave most of us with more money in our pockets than before. That’s even true for savvy folks in the top 1/3!”
Econman’s calculations were later verified by the prestigious Regional Economics Models, Inc. (REMI) report. Carbon Fee & Dividend reduces carbon emissions, protects the poor, and grows the economy. It’s the Paris summit solution for a more resilient Iowa Co. and for all of Earth, our only home. Because we’re here forever…Earthbound.