This idea can literally change the world
By Scott Santens, writer and basic income advocate
This article originally appeared on Medium, exploring the concept of revenue-neutral carbon pricing and connecting it to the idea of an unconditional basic income (UBI).
There’s an idea out there with a large and growing consensus of support. Experts long focused on climate change like James Hansen and Bill McKibben see it as an absolute no-brainer of a policy at this point, which is why about 90 countries included some version of it in their plans as part of the Paris Climate Agreement. Despite its absence so far in the Republican platform and its only just recently being added to the Democratic platform, a survey done by Stanford in 2015 found that 67% of adults in the US approved of the idea as long as it was revenue-neutral. This means the revenue raised by it would not be spent by government. Instead, all revenue would be refunded to everyone equally, which it can and arguably should be, so as to transform it from regressive to progressive, and to gain necessary support from both ends of the political spectrum.
So what’s the idea?
Revenue-neutral carbon taxation
At its most simple, the idea is to make it cost more for everyone to use the atmosphere as a toilet. In its most ideal form, the idea is to add a new and annually increasing fee per ton of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions, and to simply rebate that revenue back to everyone in the form of monthly dividends for all.
The idea is called a revenue-neutral carbon tax, or carbon tax and rebate, or carbon fee and dividend, or carbon fee and rebate. Pick your favorite.