WSW: Is a Carbon Tax the Answer to Climate Change?

Jul 7, 2014

Smokestacks in Champaign, Illinois
Credit Dori/Wikicommons


Dana Mains say her two year old daughter is the inspiration for getting involved in the effort to address climate change. 

Mains says she has felt the need to step outside her comfort zone, including doing a radio interview, because she is concerned about climate change. She is the group leader for the Kalamazoo Chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby. Mains, who works at Fenville Adult Alternative High School, says one day she has to be able to look her daughter in the eye "and tell her that I tried my best to protect her future." 

"One day I have to be able to look her in the eye and tell her that I did my best to protect her future."

Mains says a carbon tax would be "revenue neutral." She says all of the money raised from the tax on carbon emissions would go back to U.S. households. Mains says that would help reduce greenhouse gasses and improve the economy. She says the tax would gradually go up so that eventually renewable sources of energy would be cheaper than fossil fuels. 

The Citizens Climate Lobby is highlighting a new report by Regional Economic Models Incorporated. Mains says it shows that employment would grow with a carbon tax. She says by refunding the tax back to U.S. households, consumer spending would increase. Mains says it will also help the transition to clean energy, and encourage people to change behaviors to reduce energy use. 

Asked if getting a carbon tax enacted required acknowledgement of human-caused climate change, Mains says that may not be necessary. She says the tax would help correct what is called an "under pricing" of fossil fuels. But Mains says the overwhelming scientific evidence shows that human-based climate change is already impacting the environment and the economy. 

Mains says her group is working to present the best scientific and economic data available to policy makers. She says many conservatives support the idea of a carbon tax, including former Congressman Bob Inglis. Mains says there is conservative support for the idea because it's a seen as a free-market solution to climate change.