Carbon tax is the wiser action

There have been letters and columns proposing a Vermont carbon tax (or more accurately, a carbon pollution tax); there have been others raising objections to it. This is part one of a response to those objections. Objection 1 is: The call for a carbon tax is based on the hoax that there is global warming, largely caused by human activity, serious enough to require major action. Response 1: The vast majority of scientists around the world believe that it is real, not a hoax, and can have devastating consequences unless we take major action now. There are Vermonters who sincerely disagree with the science. But! If the scientists are right but no proper carbon tax or equivalent is adopted, none of us have to make any sacrifice (good) but our children and grandchildren will suffer and sacrifice greatly (Bad). On the other hand, if the deniers are correct, but in spite of that a proper carbon tax is adopted here and used as a model elsewhere, a minority of us will have unnecessarily paid out a few extra dollars (bad) and the world will still be a good place for our children and grandchildren (good). Which is the wiser action?


Advertisement

Objection 2 is, Vermonters are already hurting from taxation and can't afford any more. Response 2. A proper carbon tax is one with "dividends." The tax, or pollution fee, is levied on those as far back in the chain bringing the fossil fuel from underground to the consumer as possible. They will undoubtedly pass it down to the consumer in prices. But the bulk of the fee money goes back will go back to less wealthy consumers as dividend checks. The only ones who end up with out-of-pocket expenses are those with the fullest pockets.

— David A. Durfee Bennington