Letters to the Editor: Why a carbon tax to fight climate change is superior to cap-and-trade

Oil refinery in California
The Phillips 66 oil refinery in Wilmington.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Predictability is critical to the business community, which is why it is asking for a price on carbon via a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax.

Cap-and-trade, however, requires a bureaucratic structure to design a carbon market, assure compliance and carry out other complex operations. The latest United Nations talks on climate change foundered on the details of such a program.

On the other hand, a federal carbon tax with the proceeds rebated to households has many advantages. It does not depend on myriad regulations or add to government coffers.

A fee placed on fossil fuels at the mine or well rising incrementally every year would, unlike trading schemes, be predictable. It would be felt throughout the economy, incentivizing rapid changes in technology and behavior. Border adjustments would protect American exporters.


The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act now in Congress would implement this strategy. Crucial to its success, the act returns the collected revenue to households via a monthly check, protecting families of modest means. This plan would smooth public acceptance even as it takes a big first step on reducing carbon emissions.

Grace Bertalot, Anaheim


To the editor: For decades, environmentalists and other concerned citizens have been imploring our government to take significant action to stop the human causes of the Earth’s rapid and disastrous warming. We’ve protested, demanded, begged, lobbied and written letters to newspapers.

At last we are being joined by business leaders requesting rules that will provide the predictability they need to plan and prosper.

Congress has before it several bills that would do what Wall Street wants. Will we finally see a steadily rising price put on carbon that will allow us all to plan and prepare for a livable future?

Peggy Painton, Los Angeles