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Green Party LogoMichigan Greens Call for Fee-and-Dividend Plan to Let People, Not Corporations, Profit from Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Ecological Wisdom * Social Justice
Grassroots Democracy * Non-Violence

Green Party of Michigan

** News Release **
** ------------ **
January 19, 2010

For More Information, Contact:
Art Myatt, Vice Chair/GPMI

John Anthony La Pietra, Media Committee/GPMI 269-781-9478

100% of Fees to Be Restored to the People;
No Cap-and-Trade Giveaway to Energy Conglomerates

The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) has adopted a resolution supporting collecting fees on fossil fuels based on the amount of carbon in them, with the whole amount collected being paid back to individual users.

GPMI will promote this "fee-and-dividend" approach to reducing carbon dioxide pollution in this year's election campaigns and other activities. The state party will also offer the proposal to the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) for inclusion in this year's national platform.

Art Myatt, current Vice-Chair of GPMI and an engineer working on the manufacture of solar panels, originated the proposal within GPMI. "We believe that resource depletion and excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are two crucial issues which require reduction in the amount of fossil fuels burned," he commented.

"Instead of pursuing war for oil and global economic growth, we need to move in the direction of sustainable, low-carbon local economies.

"A substantial carbon fee, resulting in a substantial dividend, would be a big step for reducing fossil-fuel use and for rebuilding local economies."

Fee-and-Dividend Is Better All Around than Cap-and-Trade

The fee-and-100%-dividend concept has attracted attention in recent days, thanks in part to a framework proposed by NASA scientist James Hansen in an article in _The Nation_.

"We appreciate Dr. Hansen's pointing out clearly for all to see why fee-and-dividend is a better approach for the people and the environment than cap-and-trade," said GPMI Elections Co-ordinator John Anthony La Pietra. He added, "GPMI hopes Hansen will come to agree that nuclear power, like greenhouse-gas pollution, is an unacceptable threat to both humans and the world we live in."

The cap-and-trade approach literally gives away any financial incentives for actually reducing carbon emissions to the corporations that already profit from fossil fuels. By contrast, fee-and-dividend rewards individuals who reduce their demand for the burning of fossil fuels -- in exact proportion to the amount of carbon not turned into carbon dioxide and spewed into the atmosphere.

Doing the Math -- and Making Sure that People Hard-Hit by Energy Costs Benefit

Michigan Greens are already working on specific plans for how to implement the fee-and-dividend concept and help, not hurt, the people of their state. So many in Michigan are already suffering in the current economy -- in part because of high energy costs.

Registered professional engineer Doug Campbell has developed one basic plan that starts with a penny fee per kilogram of carbon exhausted into the air.

Campbell's preliminary figures show that someone with a typical lifestyle and energy consumption like his would pay about $40 directly in carbon fees. If all fees were paid back in dividends to the people on a flat per-capita basis, he calculates, the annual dividend would be about $200 -- five times as much.

"A significant carbon fee, resulting in a substantial dividend to people, would be a big step for reducing fossil fuel use and for rebuilding local economies," Campbell points out.

He adds, "Resource depletion, excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the deficit resulting from importing oil demand a reduction in the amount of fossil fuels burned.

"Instead of pursuing war for oil and global economic growth, we need to move in the direction of sustainable, low-carbon local economies."

Greens Will Insist on a Plan That Saves Money, Energy, and the Environment -- for the People

Michigan Greens aim to have a concrete proposal that meets three essential goals -- cleaning up the environment, reducing energy use, and protecting the lower-income people most affected already by rising energy costs. The target is to have one or more such proposals ready for discussion at the United States Social Forum, to be held in Detroit June 22-26.

The fee-and-dividend plan will fit in with other energy planks in the state platform. GPMI has long called for:

  • Helping people choose and implement lifestyles that lower overall energy consumption.

  • Encouraging energy-efficient and low-pollution vehicles and buildings (and refurbishing existing homes and workplaces).

  • A statewide energy policy that not only addresses production and pricing, but also helps communities and individuals coordinate and reduce energy use.

La Pietra expects fee-and-dividend to play a role in several Green campaigns this year. GPMI will nominate candidates at a statewide convention May 15-16 in Lansing. Local Greens can also nominate candidates within their counties at caucuses until August 3.

For more information on the issues, values, and candidates of the Green Party of Michigan, please visit the party's homepage:

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Green Party of Michigan
548 South Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental issues in Michigan politics. Greens are organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

Ecological Wisdom
Grassroots Democracy
Social Justice
Community Economics
Respect for Diversity
Personal/Global Responsibility
Future Focus/Sustainability