Heavens! Making polluters pay! Why, it's UNAMERICAN!
Soon, Oregon Polluters May Have to Pay Residents for Changing the ClimateA group of activists in Oregon wants polluters to pay residents for using their air. I spoke with Camila Thorndike, director of Oregon Climate, about this unusual effort to put a price on carbon.
Posted Dec 09, 2015, Yes magazine
Protecting the environment is something we often equate with penance—turn the thermostat down and shiver a little; deny yourself peaches when they’re out of season; give up the car to endure a lousy public transit system. A group of activists in Oregon, though, has another idea. They want to pay Oregonians for helping to stave off climate change.
I recently spoke with Camila Thorndike, director of the advocacy organization Oregon Climate, which is leading an unusual effort to put a price on carbon throughout the state. Either through a system of taxation or permits, polluters would have to pay for the carbon they emit. But the revenues, rather than feeding into the legislature’s budget, would be divided equally and sent straight to every resident of Oregon.
That’s an infectious idea. Not only would it give polluters a reason to cut back, but each dividend check would also remind Oregonians that the air is their common inheritance. The dividend would meanwhile make up for increased energy costs during the transition to more sustainable sources. Except for the highest-income earners, who tend to pollute more than others, projections suggest that most Oregonians would come out ahead.