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Letter: We need to tax fossil fuels, promote alternative energy

We need to tax fossil fuels, promote alternative energy

The effects of excessive global warming include severe weather events, such as high winds, extreme heat and flooding. Excessive warming is caused by excessive carbon dioxide in our atmosphere – the greenhouse gas effect. This CO2 was created by burning the carbon contained in fossil fuels (coal, crude oil and natural gas).

To reduce the rate of global warming, I recommend taxing fossil carbon and thereby providing incentives to use alternative energy. The alternative energy incentive tax imposed on coal would be $20 per ton; on gasoline, $2 per gallon; and on natural gas, $6 per therm.

There is no gain without pain, and I estimate that alternative energy will cost at least twice as much as fossil carbon energy. Americans who accept an alternative energy incentive tax also accept that they will have to spend less on other aspects of their lives.

Building alternative energy infrastructure will take decades, and persistent Americans will learn to burn less carbon. During these decades, global warming will continue but hopefully at a lower rate.

There is some gain with this pain – Americans will be making the sacrifices needed to reduce the rate of global warming that is degrading the future climate of our children.

Michael F. Patterson

Clarence Center