Greenspace August 7, 2013 By Jordan Sayle
U.S. Air Force Academy firefighters fight the Black Forest Fire Colorado Springs, CO, June 12, 2013.

Firefighters fight the Black Forest Fire Colorado Springs, CO, June 12, 2013.

If current trends continue, fossil fuels may still represent the cheapest forms of energy for some time, while it is time that doesn’t appear to be on the planet’s side. In the second term of a president who entered office vowing to mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change, it remains unclear how new technologies can emerge at competitive prices and where the funds will originate to develop these technologies.

The new restrictions on greenhouse gases stand to improve the situation, but Dr. Hansen believes that a broader-based solution is still necessary. He calls for a gradually and continually rising fee collected from fossil fuel companies, with the money being distributed to the public on a per capita basis.

“The economy would be spurred,” he predicts. “Entrepreneurs and business people would have the incentive to develop alternatives, the public would have the wherewithal to make changes in their lifestyle and infrastructure choices, and the market would help make effective technology decisions.”

If such a plan sounds unlikely to come true in 2013, when congressional action is downright oxymoronic, and when even some in the president’s own party oppose new regulations on oil and gas companies, Hansen believes there’s still the opportunity for a meaningful strategy to ultimately emerge. The key is that the public would not agree to his proposed fee if it were presented as just another levy imposed by tax-and-spend liberals.

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