Climate change is essentially a problem of injustice. People are not sufficiently aware of this. Worse still, the theme of justice and responsibility is anxiously avoided in the climate debate. And when it is discussed the focus is on individual responsibility, ignoring the fact that there are people in positions of power who bear an infinitely greater burden of guilt. After all, those who help to maintain an unjust system are surely much more guilty than those who only do their best to live/survive in this system, aren’t they? But as has often been shown, exploiting guilt is a very efficient tactic for silencing people and allowing the impasse to continue. Very little has been achieved in 25 years, and global annual CO2 emissions continue to rise, precisely because this injustice is not being addressed:
Fossil fuel companies make billions of dollars, while their business is killing the planet, but they do not pay for the damage caused. It is the ordinary people who will suffer the consequences of climate change. It is the ordinary people who will have to pay the bill.
We will have to pay in so many ways. Higher food prices. Damage to our homes from storms, floods and other extreme weather conditions. Deaths from heat waves. Extinction of plant and animal species. A sharp increase in the number of forest fires. Loss of our coastal cities due to rising sea levels. But also: we pay with a loss of happiness. Living in the knowledge that we are destroying our planet is hard to bear.
This injustice continues, only to make a small group of extremely rich people even richer. It is effectively a transfer of money from the poor to the rich.
There is a climate policy that can put an end to this injustice: the carbon fee and dividend. By making the big polluters pay for the damage they cause, and by giving that money back to the people, we reverse the money transfer and we restore the balance. When the balance is restored, the world will no longer choose the profits of a few super-rich to the detriment of the losses of billions of ordinary people. Then we will finally get rid of fossil fuels and stop climate change.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Practically every economist in the world says the same thing: a carbon fee and dividend is essential to get climate change under control. In their words, it is correcting the biggest market failure in history. In January, 3,500 economists, including 27 Nobel Prize winners, published an open letter to advocate a carbon fee and dividend. If we listen to the experts, to the climate scientists, on climate change, is it not logical that we also take the advice of the experts – in other words, the economists – on climate policy into account?
Recently, a few concerned European citizens set up a citizens’ committee and submitted a European Citizens’ Initiative on the introduction of a carbon fee and dividend at the EU level. We need to collect a million signatures in one year to defend our proposal in the European Parliament.
The price of the carbon caused by climate change must and will rise. Pollution can no longer be free. The carbon fee and dividend does this in a fair and transparent way, while putting real money in *your* pocket. Please help fight both climate change and injustice by taking 30 seconds to present this urgent, fair and important policy to the European Commission. Please share this message with everyone you know. Thank you.