Trick question: If extreme weather cost the U.S. almost $180 billion in one year, what portion of the cost was borne by companies that produce fossil fuels? The correct answer is NEGATIVE $20 billion. We do not charge; in fact, we subsidize.
For hundreds of thousands of years, CO2 levels in the atmosphere varied between 200 and 280 parts per million (ppm), with approximately 100,000 years between the highs. In the last 150 years, they have gone from under 300 ppm to over 415. This change in timescale is so dramatic that it’s challenging to create a graph that accurately illustrates what is happening.
It is time to institute a fee that fossil fuel companies must pay for the damage their product does. Some oil and gas companies (like Exxon-Mobil) support exactly this approach, so long as the costs are predictable.
The revenue collected could be directly rebated to taxpayers. This would guarantee that most citizens would see a net benefit. The exceptions would be those (typically wealthy) people with an unusually high carbon footprint.
Trick question: When should we implement such a fee? The correct answer is 20 years ago.
If not then, then immediately. Every day we wait, our children lose money, lives and livelihood.
Scot Adams, Eden Prairie
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