Your article about the amazing career of George Shultz, upon his recent passing at the age of 100, reminds us of what real integrity in government can look like.
He clearly approached challenges with more intellect, analysis and practicality than dogma.
Toward the end of his life he turned his attention to preventing nuclear war and addressing climate change.
An esteemed Republican statesman, Shultz was also a respected economist who, when he became aware of the problem of global warming, got to work on a practical solution – a form of carbon pricing that was not, in his opinion, a tax. He called it “carbon fee and dividend.”
This policy idea, which applies a fee to carbon emissions from fossil fuels and then returns the fee to all households equally, has found its way into a bill called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
Shultz viewed the problem of excess greenhouse gases as a result of a market failure: Not recognizing the true cost of carbon fuels to human and planetary health led to too great a level of carbon emissions. He proposed that adding a gradually rising fee to fossil fuels will send a market signal to shift us toward nonpolluting renewables, and increase jobs in a new energy economy.
Chellie Pingree is a co-sponsor of the bipartisan House bill reflecting Shultz’s policy. It would make sense for Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins to co-sponsor a Senate bill – maybe they can name it after George Shultz!
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