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Bipartisan Group Promotes Carbon Fee Proposal in Spokane, Sandpoint


Doug Nadvornick talks with Climate Change Lobby volunteers Steve Ghan and John Sandvig about the group's 'carbon fee' proposal.

Members of a national group devoted to creating bipartisan solutions to climate change are promoting a revenue-neutral proposal they believe will reduce demand for fossil fuels. Their measure would increase the price of carbon-emitting fuels, but seek to minimize the burden on consumers.

The group Citizens’ Climate Lobby is promoting what it calls a free-market solution to climate change. It’s called ’carbon fee and dividend.’

John Sandvig, a retired engineer who volunteers for the group, says the federal government would levy a $15-per-ton fee on carbon-emitting fuels such as crude oil as they’re extracted. That fee would be passed on as fuels move through the process, leading to higher prices at the pump and wherever else you buy carbon-emitting fuels.

And, he says, while consumers would pay higher prices, they would get some or all of it back in the form of a dividend.

He says, over the years, the carbon fee would increase, making those fuels less attractive compared with non-carbon sources such as wind or solar and that would lead to more opportunities for companies in so-called green energy industries.

Sandvig believes market-based solutions have the best chance of gaining support in the current political climate, where many question whether climate change is real.

“What I see is a huge appetite for understanding that a solution exists that also help the economy and is politically viable,” he said.

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Audubon Washington, The Lands Council and 350 Spokane held public sessions Thursday evening in Spokane. Citizens’ Climate Lobby will hold another meeting Friday from 5-30 to 7 pm in the Sandpoint Community Hall.