Many consider environmental protection a strictly Democratic issue. Back a few decades, that wasn't so.

The Reagan and Bush senior administrations addressed concerns that we'd lose the protective ozone layer with the Montreal Protocol, what former Secretary of State George Shultz called in a recent interview a "no regrets" insurance policy that would help the economy even if the concerns proved unfounded. It quickly led to enough innovation to re-stabilize the ozone layer, now recovering.

"There were ozone skeptics back then, just as there are climate skeptics now. But we all agreed that, if what some scientists feared were to happen, it would be disastrous. So we took out an insurance policy. In retrospect, the non-skeptics turned out to be right, and the Montreal Protocol came around just in time."

His proposal taxes carbon and possibly other pollutants and returning all the revenue via tax cuts for income, savings and/or payroll, all welcome places for less taxation. Pollution usually decreases over time, decreasing the tax, with the incentive from that tax specifically encouraging anti-pollution innovation that will further decrease that taxation.

Considering that pollution is often from inefficient energy use, the tax would encourage smarter resource use via tools and practices just waiting for a bit more incentive for use, so long-term energy costs could easily decrease despite the tax and our energy problems.

This simple fee-and-dividend plan for pollution reduction by a respected elder statesman makes wonderful sense.


Roger Twitchell

York City