Citizens’ Climate Lobby members Ed Atkinson and Guy Tanner were speakers at a Skeptics in the Pub evening at Elephant and Castle on March 22nd.  In “Can we really stop climate change?”  potential policy options were outlined by Ed, who argued that a revenue neutral carbon tax such as CCL’s Carbon Fee and Dividend would be the most popular and effective mechanism to bring down CO2 emissions.  Far simpler than Cap and Trade, it would avoid complicated regulation or hefty subsidies from the tax payer and would help shift fossil fuel lock-in.

A Carbon fee "dividend"

   A Carbon fee “dividend”

While economists, the World Bank and even Exxon oil have long called for a revenue neutral carbon price to stave off the much steeper costs of climatic breakdown, fee and dividend hasn’t yet received the attention it deserves.  A proposed carbon fee would be imposed at source (port of entry, pit or well) starting low but steadily rising over time.  The clear predictable signal that fossil fuels will become ever more expensive would not only stimulate clean energy investment and innovation but also incentivise energy conservation across the board.  What better way to encourage divestment and Keep It in the Ground?

To maintain broad public support in stabilizing emissions however, citizens would need protection from financial hardship once higher prices set in. To ensure that those in lower income groups (the bottom 60%) are compensated, all the money raised would thus be equally distributed back to each household (the dividend) irrespective of carbon footprint.  When the economic modelling corporation REMI looked at the policy, it found that over 20 years there was a 52% reduction in C02 levels compared to no carbon pricing – while GDP, jobs and incomes were actually boosted.  An existing form of CF&D has been embraced in British Columbia since 2008, where the lowest fuel use and tax rates in Canada go hand in hand with a healthy economy. Read: Finding the Bright Spots

Citizens’ Climate Lobby UK is a non-partisan, informally constituted community group, supporting a national network of self financing, self-organising local groups, with the aim of creating the political will to enact a Carbon Fee & Dividend policy.  One of over 315 chapters begun in the US in 2007 and now globally active, the emphasis is on finding a pragmatic common ground  that can appeal to the largest number of people from differing political backgrounds on other issues.  A recent proposal for a domestic carbon tax was recently presented to the White House by a group of senior Republicans that included James Baker, George Shultz and Henry Paulson.  Even Rex Tillerson, Trump’s Secretary of State, had called for one in the past.  A fair, market based lever that can garner support from the right as well as the left has the best chance of galvanising people into action.  Further solutions can then evolve along the way.

Further Information

There are plans for a Lewes chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby when a sufficient core of volunteers register their interest!  

Local Contact: Judith Knott (right – on the left) (the parent organisation in America) has a library of information on its website.

www.  / Twitter: @CitznsClimateUK

  Judith Knott & Nina



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