Could a Carbon Free Dividend Rewire the Economy?

Those in charge face a tricky post-Covid dilemma. Yes, we need to rebuild the world’s economies. But experts say the human race is fighting a ‘suicidal’ war against the natural world, which means we also need to act immediately to prevent runaway climate change. Could a Carbon Free Dividend help humanity achieve both goals?

The story goes like this. In 2019 a group of economics professionals signed a letter, printed in the Wall Street Journal. It appealed for a Carbon Free Dividend or ‘CFD’ system, a simple idea: any business that imports, exports or extracts fossil fuels pays a levy charged by the ton. The rate rises over time, and the money generated is given, as a monthly dividend, to every citizen.

This would give every individual – say everyone of taxpaying age – the extra money needed to handle the price rises that a CFD might cause. It should make at least 70% of us better off. Only the rich would need to change their buying habits to avoid losing out financially.

It seems to make perfect sense. Can you think of another way to slash CO2 emissions while reducing financial inequality for countless millions of ordinary people, avoiding economic disaster, and stopping the worst climate change predictions from coming true?

Why isn’t it happening? Simple. Because the fossil fuel industry and their dependents hate the idea, and they have a powerful influence over politics, policy making, and the resulting economic systems we’re forced to live with.

You can find out more about the thinking behind a Carbon Free Dividend economy here.

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