US Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, gives a clear and succinct account of a fair climate policy on NPR’s Marketplace:
Our atmosphere belongs to all of us, and polluters should have to pay to use it. The citizens of Alaska get yearly dividends from the oil companies that take away their natural resources. Why shouldn’t the same principle apply when industries use the biggest common resource of all? The money they pay for permits could be returned as yearly dividends to every American family.
Now, it stands to reason that if polluters have to pay for the right to pollute, some of these costs might be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. But the yearly dividend checks would offset any price increases.
I’ll have you know that I actually stood next to Reich once, briefly, in the corridor of a Senate office building. (Yes, you may touch my hem.) [Image courtesy of Wikimedia.]