A carbon tax is a good idea

Editor of the Reformer:

I read with interest John McClaughry's opinion about the 2016 legislative session (May 26). McClaughry calls the carbon tax a bad idea. Actually, the logic behind such a tax is unassailable.

Here in Windham County, we have an organization called Southeast Vermont Community Action that goes into people's houses and performs energy retrofits and improvements at no cost to the homeowner. It is an income-sensitive program, thereby helping people who can't afford these improvements. SEVCA is funded by a tax on gasoline: half a cent per gallon at the pump. The amount of money saved by homeowners and the amount of fuel not burned is a lot. This is one way a carbon tax helps us.

The beauty of a carbon tax is that it attacks the problem directly — fuel consumption. Arguments that such a tax hurts low-income people are disingenuous. Programs to help low-income households are already in place, have been for years and are not going away. Meanwhile, the carbon tax gives people an incentive to consume less fuel, insulate more and generally be more efficient.

Also, there is no need to use quotation marks when we talk about climate change. As we know, when one drives a 232-cubic-inch engine, you are generally consuming about 134 cubic-feet-per-minute of air and transforming it radically. Multiply that times the rest of human activity and there is no escaping the truth: We are engaged in a global experiment in the chemical composition of the Earth's atmosphere.


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I am grateful that the Vermont Legislature has been contemplating the carbon tax. It will lead to a better future for all of us.

Bill Congleton, Brattleboro, June 3