Addressing Rubio's carbon concerns

The Obama administration's action to reduce climate change emissions has drawn fire from many conservatives.

  • By
  • | 6:35 a.m. September 3, 2015
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
  • Opinion
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Recently, the billionaire conservative activists Charles and David Koch asked some Republican presidential hopefuls to speak at their Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce meeting in California. In remarks at that meeting Florida Senator Marco Rubio criticized the proposed new EPA standards for power plants. The Obama administration’s action to reduce climate change emissions has drawn fire from many conservatives. The Senator’s concerns, quoted below, are clearly addressed by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby plan of Carbon Fee and Dividend. Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a national non-partisan, nonprofit organization of volunteers advocating a fee on fossil fuels based on the CO2 contamination they create. All the revenue collected from the fee would be returned to U.S. households. This drives up the cost of dirty energy equal to its damaging effect and stimulates the market for renewables. It is a great answer to Senator Rubio’s fears.

At the meeting Senator Rubio said:

"So if there's some billionaire somewhere who is a pro-environmental, cap and trade person, yeah, they can probably afford for their electric bill to go up a couple of hundred dollars," Rubio said. "But if you're a single mom in Tampa, Florida, and your electric bill goes up by thirty dollars a month, that is catastrophic."

Under Carbon Fee and Dividend, 100 percent of the revenue from the fee on carbon, coal being a major pollution source, would be returned to U.S. citizens in a refund check. Therefore, the single mother from Tampa would find the increase in her electricity bill fully covered by the refund. That is one of the advantages of the CF and D method to low-income families.

Senator Rubio also worried that the new carbon regulations will "do nothing to address the underlying issue that they're talking about. Because as far as I can see, China and India and other developing countries are going to continue to burn anything they can get their hands on."

Our proposed fee on carbon would be accompanied by a “Border Tax Adjustment.” This would place a tariff on imports from countries that have not adopted a commensurate carbon fee. Countries such as China and India would therefore be incentivized to establish a carbon tax at home to avoid paying a tariff for access to our market. We use our huge market as leverage to push polluting countries into a similar tax in their economy, which would act to shift the world from greenhouse gases to green energy.

Climate change is a growing concern in Florida. We are ground zero for the effects of sea level rise and searing temperatures. A Miami Herald editorial last Saturday pointed out that $69 billion in Florida coastal property could flood at high tide in the near future.

Florida’s members of Congress should be leading the way in the fight to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. Carbon Fee and Dividend is a market-based, revenue neutral, non-regulatory solution that protects consumers and reduces the damage to our planet.


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