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Letter: A carbon tax on fossil fuels would help combat climate change
05022018 FOSSIL FUEL CLIMATE

Thank you for the excellent coverage that you have been giving the issue of climate change both in your news articles and opinion pieces. Please keep up the good work.

In your “Viewpoint” page last Sunday, you provided a pro and con examination of the question, “Is a carbon tax the right way to go in fighting climate change?” Raising the question of a carbon tax is particularly timely given that a similar bill has been introduced into our United States Congress, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 7173). This bill is sponsored by Republican congressmen Francis Rooney (19th District in Florida), Brian Fitzpatrick (8th District in Pennsylvania) and Dave Trott (11th District in Michigan), along with Democrats Ted Deutch (22nd District in Florida), John Delaney (6th District in Maryland) and Charlie Crist (13th District in Florida).

This bill would put a fee on fossil fuels that will start low and grow over time to discourage the use of these fuels. The money collected will be returned to individual citizens to use as they see fit. The cost of administering the program will come from the fee itself. The government will not keep any of the money collected.

To ensure that this program will not harm American manufacturers, a carbon adjustment fee will be placed on all imported products manufactured with fossil fuels. Manufacturers who export from the United States will receive a refund.

If this bill becomes law, it will not on its own solve the problem of climate change, but it is a good start. To increase the odds of passing this bill, citizens need to become familiar with it and let their representatives in Congress know of their support.

Our local congressman, Doug Collins, has recently been elevated to a position of leadership among Republicans in the House of Representatives. According to some reports in the press, even though his loyalty to President Trump is unquestioned, he has demonstrated in both word and deed his willingness to work with Democrats if it will advance the interests of the American people. I believe the current legislation is an example of just such an opportunity. If you agree, please let Collins know how you feel.

No doubt some will point to the fiasco in France as an argument against placing a fee on carbon. But one should remember that the strength of an analogy is determined by the number of similarities between the two things being compared. We do share at least two problems with France, gross income inequality and a sizable portion of a population who, because they live in rural areas, have a long way to drive no matter where they go. 

But we have our differences as well. Our economy is much stronger than that of France. Our taxes are much lower than those in France. Right now, a gallon of gas in France already costs about $7. 

Most importantly, we can learn from their mistakes. Whether we do or not remains to be seen. What is certain is that the status quo will not endure.

Brian E. Moss

Gainesville

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