By George Lakoff
Interestingly, there is a short, 39-page bill before the Senate that would allow us to save nature and get paid substantially for doing it. It is the CLEAR bill. It's simple, it works, and it pays you.
Saving nature is the central issue. Carbon fuels destroy nature. The Gulf Death Gusher is the most visible sign. But signs are everywhere. Overall global warming increases hurricanes and floods, destroys habitats for plants, fish, birds, and ground animals, spreads deserts, causes deadly waves, and destroys glaciers and our polar ice caps. The use of carbon fuels has been destroying nature. Our job now is to save it.
Interestingly, there is a short, 39-page bill before the Senate that would allow us to save nature and get paid substantially for doing it. It is the CLEAR bill, first suggested by Peter Barnes, and introduced by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME). It is simple, it works, and it pays you!
The principle behind it is this: We US citizens own the air over the US equally. Carbon-fuel sellers are dumping pollution in our air, not just poisoning the air, but destroying nature. At least they should pay for permits to dump, poison, and destroy, and should be forced year-by-year to stop. Who should the sellers pay for permits? All of us, the citizens who live here, should be paid handsomely. And there should be predictably fewer permits every year, till the practice ends or reaches tolerable levels.
Here's how cap-and-cash works. Carbon-fuel profiteers introduce polluting fuels at only 2,000 distribution points in the US. The EPA already monitors how much polluting fuel each seller distributes. The CLEAR Act requires sellers to compete at auction each year to buy pollution-permits to sell their poisonous fuel, with a minimum and maximum price per permit set each year. Every year, for 40 years, the number of permits is reduced, until the 80% of the carbon pollution has been eliminated.
Who gets the permit money? You do. The money goes into a trust. Twenty-five percent goes to developing nonpolluting fuels and mitigating existing environmental disasters. Most of it -- seventy-five percent -- is distributed equally to all citizen-residents every month via electronic bank transfers. A family of four, the first year would get between $1,000 and $1,500, and the amount would go up each year. Why? The law of supply and demand. As there are fewer permits to sell fuel, and as the air gets cleaner, the price rises and you get more cash.
We all get a double dividend: cleaner air while saving nature and a significant cash dividend for owning the air. The hundreds of billions of dollars going to citizens will be spent all over the country and will create jobs. Everyone wins except the polluting fuels companies -- the BP's of the world.
Originally published at the Huffington Post, click the link to read more or for information