Letters to the Editor

Climate change costs can be balanced

Joe Boughton’s “What’s the climate change agenda?” letter (Aug. 28) claims that climate change “believers” are dishonest about the cost of solutions and are concealing how carbon taxes will price consumers out of the energy market.

First, nobody is hiding anything about the costs. Decarbonizing the economy will be neither free nor painless, but to ignore global warming will be disastrous. For instance, the British government’s official 2006 Review of the Economics of Climate Change estimated the cost of decarbonizing at 1 percent of GDP but warned that a business-as-usual approach guarantees a devastating loss, some 5-20 percent.

The costs of fighting climate change, in other words, have been discussed openly and widely for a decade.

Second, there are any number of consumer-friendly answers to the global warming question. The most feasible is probably the “fee and dividend” plan advanced by conservative former GOP Congressman Bob Inglis’ group, Citizens Climate Lobby.

CCL’s fee and dividend plan creates no new federal revenue. Instead, 100 percent of fees would be rebated to American households to balance out price increases and spur conservation. In most places, studies find, the dividend will be more than the increased costs.

A similar law in British Columbia has reduced climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions sharply without killing jobs or otherwise harming the economy. It’s also popular with 65 percent of voters.

Only such concerted political action can address climate change. Leaders risk historical infamy if they fail to act. Look into the fee and dividend plan. Your descendants will thank you.

Will Watson

Long Beach