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Mike Tidwell
Founder and Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Mike Tidwell

Mike Tidwell is founder and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a grassroots non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. ALL POSTS

D.C. plastic bag fee offers climate solution

Q: As the prospects for a climate bill in the Senate get dimmer, some in Congress have said the solution is not to limit U.S. emissions but instead invest in green technology (wind, solar or earth's natural heat) that might be able to produce the same energy but with less pollution. Is this a good way to go, instead of setting a legal limit on emissions?

Congress needs to get out of the business of picking clean-energy winners and losers by providing vast subsidies to nuclear power, "clean coal" and even wind and solar power. What Congress must do instead is pass a bill that would create a real cap on carbon fuels such that the cost of dirty energy begins to rise vis a vis clean energy in the market place.

Such a "price signal" could work quickly and efficiently with virtually no government bureaucracy required. Just look at the recent D.C. Council plastic bag fee of 5 cents. After years of earnest promotion of "green behavior" from environmental groups, very few of us actually took our own bags to the grocery store. But then, boom, over night, the use of plastic bags in the District of Columbia was cut roughly in half beginning January 1st with the implementation of a simple 5-cent per bag fee. Stunning.

Let's do the same with oil and coal. Attach a fee. Consumers would then drive a market revolution. Further, we could then rebate the carbon fee money (paid by polluters) back to Americans in the form of a monthly dividend. Most Americans, incredibly, would see their net incomes GROW from the dividend even as energy prices rise. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have just introduced precisely such a bill, called the CLEAR Act. It's a "cap and dividend" policy. This is what Congress should do. Learn more at

By Mike Tidwell  |  February 4, 2010; 11:22 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Both are needed | Next: Cap and trade is the best pathway for clean energy future


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Plastic bags are actually a very effective, low cost form of carbon sequestration. Nearly 100% carbon and very non-biodegradable.

Posted by: faudel | February 7, 2010 10:49 AM
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Nucluer fuel is not everlasting.There might be poor return on investments, if we run out of uranium in 50 years or so.

Posted by: info85 | February 7, 2010 7:06 AM
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Hey, Senator_Salesman. Do you cut and paste that exact same screed on every discussion of climate change? The world is round, idiot, even if you can find ten anachronisms still lurching around on college campuses.

Posted by: hayesap8 | February 7, 2010 12:27 AM
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This Brand New Video Blows a Huge Gaping Hole in Obama's Cap and Tax Scheme:

Posted by: CommieBlaster | February 6, 2010 6:53 PM
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Here are a Few of the MANY Scientists Who Believe Global Warming is Primarily Caused by Natural Processes and NOT because of Greenhouse gases!

- William M. Gray, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University [1] [2]

- Sallie Baliunas, astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics [1]

- Don Easterbrook, emeritus professor of geology, Western Washington University [1]

- Khabibullo Abdusamatov, mathematician and astronomer at Pulkovskaya Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences [1]

- Fred Singer, Professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia [1] [2]

- Frederick Seitz, retired, former solid-state physicist, former president of the National Academy of Sciences [1]

- Willie Soon, astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics [1]

- George V. Chilingar, Professor of Civil and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California [1]

- Ian Clark, hydrogeologist, professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa [1]

- Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [1]

Posted by: Senator_Salesman | February 5, 2010 8:25 PM
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