Ben Adler writing for Grist has some advice for progressives as they formulate their message. He says that it is a mistake to overlook the growing climate crisis. In fact, this is a time to address economic inequity while also taking on climate change.
To help progressive leaders develop such a plan, here’s a list of six policies that would help cut carbon pollution, clean up the air, strengthen our cities, and redistribute tax dollars from fossil fuel companies and rich individuals to the poor and middle class.
I am pleased that the first item on his list of six is a carbon fee and dividend idea, one that sounds identical to what we are proposing through the Citizens Climate Lobby. To me it is the most elegant and just way of both curbing carbon pollution while also keeping in mind the needs of the poor and working class.
Impose a carbon tax and redistribute the revenue to citizens. Currently, polluters pay nothing when they spew CO2 into the air, despite the massive costs that the emissions impose on society by worsening climate change. Discouraging emissions through taxation of big polluters would help get climate change under control — and it could also generate huge amounts of revenue. That money could be spent in any number of ways; one of the more progressive would be to rebate some of it to low-income taxpayers and use some of it for social programs. Even simply cutting carbon pollution is progressive, since the worst effects of climate change will fall disproportionately on the poor. And by getting our country off of coal and oil burning, we would also reduce the particulate pollution that plagues low-income, minority, and inner-city neighborhoods.
Read Adler’s whole article to see his other five recommendations. 6 ways to promote economic equality and climate action at the same time