By Tom Braford
Thanks to a cadre of senior Republican statesmen, carbon taxes and dividends are now being discussed in the halls of power, pool halls, barrooms and bedrooms across America and around the world.
The idea is to get a handle on climate change quickly by putting a fee on carbon based fuels at the mine, wellhead or port of entry and returning the money collected to all households. They have proposed a starting tax of $40 per metric ton of CO2 which they estimate would result in a $2,000 per year dividend to an average family of four in the first year that would go up from there.
This is not exactly what Citizens’ Climate Lobby has been suggesting with our carbon fee and dividend proposal, but we are thrilled to see senior Republicans taking the lead on this all-important issue.
This is a shock and awe scenario for people living in St Louis. It is a shock because our cheap coal-fired electricity, truck- and car-centric transportation and freight, poorly insulated and energy-inefficient buildings will all quickly become obsolete when this kind of legislation is passed.
The awe is because we find ourselves in such a unique position. On one hand, with one of the highest carbon footprints in the world at 22.6 metric tons, we would need to undergo a massive transformation overnight.
On the other hand, this actually gives us a huge advantage because we have the biggest gap and have not already invested large amounts of capital in partial measures. The big winners are going to be the cities and regions that adapt the most in the shortest period of time.
Many coastal cities and major university towns have already invested heavily in some partial conservation, renewables and public transportation measures. This may have them rest on their laurels and congratulate themselves on their forethought
In St Louis, however, it is a chance to reexamine everything and to hit the ground running with the latest technologies and strategies. If we do that we can grow our personal and regional fortunes massively. It is like Europe after World War II; with the chance to rebuild aided by the Marshall Plan, Germany and Japan especially had the luxury of starting virtually from scratch.
At Arizmendi Ecovillage in St Louis, we are poised to take our residents and businesses all the way to a post-carbon lifestyle along with the abundant benefits to our economy in one fell swoop, as a model for how the rest of the region and the country can do the same.
This will be a much easier course for our 200 residents and on-site workers, since our costs will not rise nearly as fast as most everyone else’s. Once some form of carbon fee and dividend legislation is enacted, we could even pool some or all of our dividend checks and find ourselves treading water in one of the community pools instead of in a sinking carbon-dependent St Louis economy.
Come find out how you can reserve a home and possibly an employment/career opportunity and an eminently possible and preferable post-carbon future with freedom from the tyranny of fossil fuel dependence and dividends for all.
Join us for a meeting at the Ecovillage on Saturday, March 18th. Visit our website, www.ArizmendiEcovillage.com for details or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.