So they gathered their top advisors. “Okay folks,” Les began, “our task is to craft a straight-forward, bipartisan plan that will both grow the economy and protect the environment. We want a bill that will provide multiple benefits for all Americans.”
The advisors from opposing political parties eyed each other warily then finally began to speak up. “For starters, we can’t add more burdensome government regulations,” Frieda Marketts insisted. “And to get buy-in from the public, folks gotta have the chance to save money or even get ahead.”
“Fair enough,” Juan Kleenaire countered. “Then for better human AND environmental health another result must be improved air quality and climate stabilization.”
Knute Phuelles burst from his chair. “I think we can do both! Listen, today’s energy markets are bristling with new, cleaner energy options. We should open the door for these clean options to become increasingly competitive. Along with that we should motivate folks to be thrifty with their energy dollars. Then we’d have both cleaner air AND job creation.”
“And we mustn’t forget the little guy!” Avery Pearson quietly added.
Finally, after weeks of debate the Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act was ready for co-sponsors. It features:
- A gradually increasing fee on producers of fossil fuels that pollute the air and contribute to climate disruption.
- That revenue would go directly into the pockets of all Americans in the form of monthly dividends totaling about $500 / person the first year. The economically lowest 2/3 of Americans would come out money ahead even after taking into account any rise in fuel costs resulting from the fee.
- Transitioning to new energy sources and increased efficiencies would create over 2 million local jobs over 10 years.
- Cleaner air will save hundreds of thousands of lives.
- We’d benefit from an estimated 40% reduction in carbon emissions the first 12 years.