Online commentators responding to Laurie Sproul’s May 13 letter about the need for a revenue neutral carbon tax brought up several important points that were not addressed specifically in her letter.

According to both conservative and liberal economists, the most efficient way to address carbon emissions is through a market-based, revenue-neutral carbon tax. A revenue-neutral tax, as proposed by Citizens Climate Lobby, would be assessed as far upstream as possible (e.g., the mine or oil refinery) and return revenue directly to Americans by way of a monthly dividend payment. The tax would incentivize both industry and consumers to choose more sustainable energy options; the dividend payments to individuals would help offset increased fuel costs.

A similar tax has been implemented successfully in British Columbia, and studies by Regional Economic Models Inc. in California, Washington, Massachusetts and, mostly recently, the United States as a whole, have found that a revenue-neutral tax might both reduce emissions and boost the economy. At the same time, we would be reducing our dependence on foreign oil, strengthening our infrastructure and avoiding the worst (and most expensive) repercussions of unmitigated climate change — all of which will leave us with a more secure and sustainable way of life.

Caroline Karnes, Hallowell

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