Reader responds to Carbon Dividends Plan

State Senator Ron Grooms recently published an article in the News and Tribune discussing SR 8, a bill he introduced to the Indiana General Assembly supporting the Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan.

The Baker-Shultz plan works to reduce carbon emissions by imposing a carbon fee at the emission source while simultaneously reducing the economic burden on ordinary energy consumers by passing on a dividend to cover the increase in energy prices.

There seems to be some misunderstanding as to how such a carbon fee/dividends plan works. Far from allowing energy companies to pollute at will so long as they pay to pollute, carbon fees assign the cost of the use of fossil fuels where the cost belongs, on the producer. Historically, the cost of burning carbon fuel was ignored resulting in the ultimate cost being borne by the public through increases in asthma and other pulmonary diseases as well as rising temperatures and the resulting impacts we are becoming all too accustomed to seeing: heat waves, wildfires, storms, and flooding.

The idea is that if producers bear an economic cost for fossil fuel pollution that reflects the cost currently borne by ordinary citizens, they will be incentivized to find solutions to the problem of fossil fuel pollution such as greater investment in renewable sources of energy. Over time, the Baker-Schultz plan increased the carbon fee thus increasing the substitution of cleaner, cheaper options for fossil fuels. What’s more, if emission targets are not met, the carbon fee will be further increased to ensure meaningful reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. If implemented this year, the Baker-Schultz plan would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by half by 2035 compared to the amount of carbon dioxide released in 2005, the baseline used by the Paris Climate Accords for reduction of CO2. The Baker-Schultz plan would thus far exceed the United States’ initial commitment established in the Paris agreement.

By incentivizing change with the imposition of the cost of fossil fuel pollution on the energy producers, we can reduce air pollution and slow global warming without having to add to the already long list of environmental regulations. As a former environmental attorney, I understand how numerous, complicated, and at times onerous environmental regulations have become in an effort to protect the environment. Carbon fee and dividend plans like Baker-Shultz offer us the opportunity to combat the problem of global warming without adding to the cost of regulatory supervision and compliance.

Lili Lutgens, New Albany

RSVP in need of vases

WE NEED YOUR VASES, PLEASE! Every Monday, a group of volunteers for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), repurpose flowers from shops, stores, and funeral homes to create beautiful arrangements.

The group, “Flower Power,” donates the arrangements to Southern Indiana patients in hospice care. Flower Power creates over 100 vases of flowers each week. They are asking the Southern Indiana community to look for those old vases that may be hidden in basements and closets and donate them to the program. They are running critically low on vases and take all sizes, shapes, and colors.

If you can help keep this program going with your vase donations, please drop them off at the basement of St John United Presbyterian Church, 1307 E. Elm Street, New Albany (entrance on 13th Street). Someone will be there to accept donations Monday – Friday, between the hours of 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. For questions, please contact Karen Ellis (RSVP) at 812-948-1815.

This is an ongoing need. Your old vases, filled with cheerful flowers, could be just what is needed to brighten a person’s difficult days. Thank you in advance.

Carol A. Dawson, RSVP Volunteer/Flower Power

School boards should reflect those they represent

I attended the first, MY first, school board meetings in July for the New Albany-Floyd County and Greater Clark County Schools districts.

At the NAFC meeting, copies of the agenda and a sign-up sheet for public comment were available. Two opportunities to speak were given and constituents did so without interruption. After the meeting, two members, Lee Ann Wiseheart and Rebecca Gardenour, thanked me for attending and encouraged my continued involvement.

In contrast, GCCS did not provide copies of the agenda nor did they have a sign-up sheet for public comment for those without computers or the skills to navigate the complicated GCCS website. I did sign up via an antiquated cut-and-paste email format, stating my topic. However, unable to find the agenda on this labyrinth of a site, I didn’t know if it pertained to the agenda public comment portion or the opposite, causing me to change my topic to voice my concerns.

I was the only one to speak. As I spoke, some members exhibited behavior for which you would admonish a child. I stated that I was closing and only had the last of my comments to finish when apparently my time, per their “rules,” was up and I was cut off. Now mind you, those “rules” were not articulated during the meeting.

In closing, passions are running high concerning Critical Race Theory (CRT), Critical Social Justice Theory (CSJT), Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), masks, vaccines and mega schools, etc. Taxpayers are wanting their elected Board members to listen to them – how else will they know their constituents’ desires.

I would like to advise individual members to host a one-on-one discussion, a back-and-forth conversation with the people they represent in their districts. Then, they vote how the people desire instead of how they – or the stakeholders – desire.

Those who fund all aspects of our children’s education deserve better representatives.

Teresa J. Ballew, Clarksville

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