I enjoyed reading your article ‘In A Nutshell‘ in the October issue of Solar Industry Magazine. I agree fully that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ruling on carbon pollution will face many challenges and delays before it can go into effect, and we may not have the luxury of time when it comes to the challenge of combating global climate change.
As you have rightly pointed out, a single technology will not be able to provide for all the ways that energy is consumed in the world today, to say nothing of the exponentially increasing quantities that are and will be required.
There is, however, an overarching approach that will open up the floodgates of innovation in the planet's journey toward a low-carbon life and will effectively bring carbon emission to a fairly quick end, while improving economy and creating jobs. This approach is a well-measured and well-thought-out legislation that imposes tax on carbon at its source.
Such a tax per ton of carbon, if gradually increased and with all the generated revenues returned to the legal residents of the country on an equal basis, will put the non-polluting energy generation on an even playing field with the carbon-emitting energy sources and will drastically cut down on global carbon emission. In fact, the extent of innovation will not be limited to the energy generation sector alone – any innovation that reduces carbon emissions will benefit greatly.Â
Technologies in the areas of energy efficiency, grid battery storage, smart grid tech, transportation, heating and cooling, and myriads of others will see an immediate and abundant jump in their market share – all without the government picking winners and losers. Balanced legislation, which will have provisions for imposing a tariff on imported goods from non-compliant countries, will cause other major energy-consuming countries to follow suit.Â
Meanwhile, domestic consumers of energy would be compensated in full or in part – depending on their lifestyle – for the increasing cost of energy by receiving the proceeds of the carbon tax. Retraining programs will make former fossil industry workers marketable for the new clean and green jobs. A recent study by the well-respected Regional Economic Models Inc. has determined that there will be a net gain of employment as a result of such a legislation.
Foad Alvandi is a member of the Baltimore, Md., chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby, a nonprofit organization promoting low-carbon energy and climate-related policies. For more information on the details of revenue neutral tax and dividend legislation, please visit the Citizens' Climate Lobby's website here, or email Alvandi at firstname.lastname@example.org.