Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan is better for the environment

The Baker-Shultz Plan harnesses the power of our free market economy to encourage a transition to renewable energy, says Alan George.(Photo: Sam Jotham Sutharson)

We still have time to stop the worst of climate change; the Baker-Shultz Plan harnesses the power of our free market economy to encourage a transition to renewable energy

I recently read Mark Trahant’s article about the Green New Deal and the impact that climate change will likely have on Native American people. And while I think there are divisions in the American people, there is a path forward: the Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan.

I am proud to be part of an organization, Students for Carbon Dividends, aimed at protecting the future of the environment. We still have time to reverse the tides and stop the worst of climate change, but it requires the use of sensible policies. Luckily, we have found just that in the Baker-Shultz Plan.

This plan is unique: it harnesses the power of our free market economy to encourage a transition to renewable energy. The price on carbon would reduce pollution by 32 percent in just four years, when compared to 2005 emissions levels.

Not only would it better the environment, it would do so in an economically responsible way. Over winter break, Students for Carbon Dividends helped to canvas the support of over 3,000 economists to back a price on carbon. The economic consensus is clear—the most efficient way to reduce carbon emissions is through a price on carbon, one that gives the revenue back to the people.

Although past carbon tax proposals have been criticized as regressive, the carbon dividends plan has an important feature: it is revenue neutral. In other words, the money raised by the tax is redistributed back to the people, a payment that amounts to about $2,000 for a family of four. This would incentivize a shift away from fossil fuels without punishing consumers.

Helping to canvass support for the Economists’ Statement has been the most significant thing I have done in college so far. But that was just the first step. We must unite behind what our country needs and take the fight to Capitol Hill.

Alan George
Yale University 2022

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