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Letters: Linking green projects and economy

Smoke is emitted from chimneys of a cement

Smoke is emitted from chimneys of a cement plant in Binzhou city, in eastern China's Shandong province. (Jan. 17, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

Peter Goldmark hit the nail on the head with his column "Two global problems, one solution" [Opinion, June 2]. He suggested that both climate change and a lackluster economy could be solved together.

His proposal to create good jobs by retrofitting buildings to use less energy would be paid for by borrowing from international financial institutions.

However, this would likely be a nonstarter for most Republicans, and any action requires support from both political parties. There is a simpler solution to these two crises, one that is gaining nonpartisan support: a steadily rising tax on carbon at the source (mine, port or wellhead) that is revenue-neutral, with all funds returned to American households. This would reduce carbon emissions, spur private investment in clean energy, and allow the government to stop choosing energy winners and losers.

Many well-respected conservatives are behind this approach, including economists Arthur Laffer and Greg Mankiw, of the Reagan and Bush administrations, respectively, and former South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis.

We could also apply border adjustments to imports to protect the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, and such tariffs would incentivize other countries, like China and India, to adopt their own carbon fees, thus addressing the global aspect of Goldmark's original plan.

Ashley Hunt-Martorano, Medford

Editor's note: The writer is a volunteer co-leader of Citizens Climate Lobby Long Island.

Peter Goldmark cogently recognized that climate and the economy are intimately linked; indeed, there are far more jobs in the green sector than there are in the oil industry, and the strength of our economy is strongly tied to how well we adapt to the changing energy needs of this century.

However, the current political climate requires us to embrace market-based solutions rather than government subsidies. An approach that can get us there is the carbon fee-and-dividend plan. This collects a steadily rising tax on all carbon emissions at their source and returns the revenue directly to American citizens, leaving the size of government the same.

Max Katz, Centereach