Study shows solution to climate change would actually create jobs
Volunteers from local group head to Washington to press state’s congressional delegation for refundable carbon tax
As recent reports on the impact of climate change underscore the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a new study finds that a tax on carbon can reduce those emissions while also adding jobs to the economy.
The study, conducted by Regional Economic Models, Inc., examined a tax on the carbon-dioxide content of fossil fuels. The tax would start at $10 per ton, increasing at $10 per ton each year. Revenue from the tax would be returned to households in equal shares as direct payments. Under this approach, the REMI study found that recycling the revenue back into the economy would add 2.2 million jobs over ten years. Improvements in air quality would save 13,000 lives a year. Emissions would decline by 33 percent.
“This study shows that by giving the revenue back to the people, a carbon tax will actually stimulate the economy,” said Mark Reynolds, executive director of Citizens Climate Lobby, which commissioned the study. “The big attack on a carbon tax has been that it would kill jobs. That assumption is now blown out of the water.”
Last month, the National Climate Assessment reported that climate change is already impacting communities across the nation. That impact is seen in Georgia in the form of more days each year over 95°F, during which the number of deaths from heat is above average. Climate change also means more severe weather events, including both droughts and floods that threaten our agricultural production and our population.
“The situation in Georgia will get much worse if we fail to curb greenhouse gases,” said Brandon Sutton, leader of the Atlanta chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby. “But we don’t have to make a choice between protecting the climate and protecting jobs. This study shows we can do both with a carbon tax that gives money back to households.”
Members of the Atlanta CCL chapter will travel to Washington this month to meet with representatives and senators to present the REMI study and urge them to pass a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
“Many members of Congress are pushing back hard against new EPA regulations to limit carbon at power plants,” said Sutton. “But events unfolding now show we have to cut emissions, and if our lawmakers don’t want more regulations, they need to get behind a market-based approach like this one.”