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Letter: The bipartisan Climate Dividend Act aims for economic and health benefits and deserves support

In this image from video, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes speaks from Washington, during the fourth night of the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via AP)

On March 3, The Tribune ran a front-page story, “Reyes joins suit against Biden over climate change order.” Attorney General Reyes thinks it’s a good idea to spend our tax dollars on a lawsuit preventing President Biden from restoring the estimated social cost of carbon emissions to the $50/metric ton set by the Obama Administration, then lowered to $7/ ton by the Trump administration.

So, what’s the social cost of climate change?

The current most credible estimate of the social cost of emitting one ton of carbon dioxide into the air is over $50/ton. If nothing is done to mitigate climate damage, then extreme weather events, the spread of disease, air pollution and droughts will continue to cost our citizens billions of dollars.

The majority of Utahns believe climate change is happening and want our legislators to work on solutions. And there are 120 business leaders, including Scott Anderson CEO of Zions bank, Gail Miller, and Rep. John Curtis who signed the Climate and Clean Air Compact calling upon state and community leaders to strategize on “advancing innovative energy solutions to benefit both air quality and our climate.”

One effective solution is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act introduced in Congress last year. This bipartisan legislation puts an increasing fee on carbon at its source and rebates the revenue to citizens in a monthly check. This has the potential to reduce carbon emissions 40% by 2030 and close to zero by 2050, while growing the economy, reducing deaths from air pollution, and increasing the social safety net for Americans living in poverty.

Please urge your members of Congress to support this Act and let’s remind Attorney General Reyes that he was elected to promote the best interests of Utahns, by putting our dollars to work on climate solutions.

Mark Molen, Salt Lake City

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