Richmond Times-Dispatch

Bipartisan resolution an affordable solution

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EDITOR, TIMES-DISPATCH:

In his recent op-ed, “Virginia cannot afford the Transporta­tion and Climate Initiative,” former House Speaker William Howell opposes the possibilit­y of Virginia beginning to introduce a regional carbon tax because of the costs to consumers. While I understand this concern, it would have been helpful for him to suggest an alternativ­e to curb greenhouse gas emissions, as we so desperatel­y need to do.

Since Howell did not offer an alternativ­e, I’ll share a promising idea. We indeed can impose a fee on fossil fuels, creating market incentives for less pollution and more clean energy. And if we do this on a national scale, we then can return the revenue to American households in equal shares as a monthly dividend. Low- and middle-income households tend to have smaller carbon footprints, so the dividend will outweigh any increased costs they face. Concerned about the national debt? Good news: This approach does not grow the debt at all. This idea has been introduced with Republican and Democratic support in the U.S. House of Representa­tives: House Resolution 763, the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It’s on the table. Our elected leaders on both sides of the aisle just need to step up and pass it.

We don’t have time for critiques of climate policies without genuine efforts to bring

forward alternativ­es. We don’t have time for an unwillingn­ess to work across the aisle. As a millennial who hopes to continue inhabiting this planet for decades to come, I’m imploring all leaders — from municipal government­s to Congress— to step up and lead. Virginia cannot afford the costs of not acting to preserve our climate. ROSEHENDRI­CKS.

FALLS CHURCH.

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