Robert Reich (How we stand up to Putin and stop the climate…)

How to stand up to Putin and stop the climate catastrophe

How to resist Putin and at the same time prevent a climate catastrophe?

Breaking away from our dependence on fossil fuels. Here’s how we’ll get there.

In response to Russian invasion of UkraineWest snapped series or sanctions in place.

Russia is global second largest exporter of crude oil and main source of world natural gas. Regardless of the short-term consequences for our wallets, in the long term we need to switch to renewable energy sources if we have any hope of keeping the earth habitable and freeing our economy from the influence of geopolitical enemies.

This is where carbon dividends come in.

******

By the way, if you like my daily analyses, comments and drawings, subscribe to my free newsletter: robertreich.substack.com

******

It works like this. We severely limit the amount of carbon we allow into the economy. Permits up to this limit will be issued and energy companies will be able to buy them at quarterly auctions. At every mine, refinery and port of entry, these companies will have to use a permit for every ton of carbon dioxide that will be emitted into the atmosphere after burning this fuel.

When they run out of permits, they can no longer extract or import carbon-polluting fuels.

To keep the climate from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – the goal of the Paris climate agreement – we need to cut emissions by about 90%. Achieving this by 2050 will require a reduction of 7.5% per year.
Currently we are declining at a rate of 1.2% per year.

With a carbon cap to ensure that we meet our targets, we could simply reduce the number of permits issued by 7.5% each year.

But how would we do it without Americans being hurt by higher gas station prices? This is where carbon dividends come in. Proceeds from the sale of permits will be distributed among the population in the form of direct payments without any conditions.

For most middle class as well as poor americans, the dividend will more than cover any increase in fuel prices and they will come out ahead. The people who produce the most carbon emissions are generally wealthy and can afford rising prices.

The Earth’s ability to absorb carbon is a natural resource that we should share equally, instead of giving free rein to the rich and oil speculators.
In addition, everyone benefits from a cleaner planet.

One study showed that a quarter of a million premature deaths will be averted over the next 20 years in the United States with a carbon pricing and dividend program.

I know what you’re thinking right now. Sounds nice, Bob. But this will never happen. Don’t be so sure! The idea is particularly popular across the political spectrum.

The carbon dividend was the first proposed in 2009 in a bipartisan billand subsequent plans came from both Republicans as well as democrats.

And there is already a precedent for parts of this program. Since 2009 Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative restricts and sells carbon permits to energy companies in 11 northeastern states. This stimulates their economy and has proven to be politically sustainable.

And in Alaska, each resident receives from 1000 to 2000 dollars annually from Alaska Permanent Fundwhich invests royalties from the state for oil. Over 80% of Alaskans say it improves their quality of life.

We treat gas prices as something out of our control, giving dangerous amounts of energy to petrostates like Russia – with worrisome consequences. By getting rid of gas addiction, we will be freed from the dirty air that kills millions of people around the world; relief from the constant loss of government subsidies for fossil fuels and from oil wars; and, above all, relief from the ongoing destruction of the earth’s climate.

None of this is possible.

The best way to contain Russia and build a sustainable future is a carbon dividend.