I am not one of those people to claim credit for a good idea. In fact, when I see or hear a good idea – I want to champion it. No matter who came up with it.
With that in mind, there’s a great idea for a carbon tax; and it’s not mine. It’s actually a Republican idea.
The Big Idea Behind a Carbon Tax
The concept is actually pretty simple: the state charges a flat tax of $40 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions. With approximately 227,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide emitted per year by Florida, if we were to implement this tax statewide it would mean an additional $9 billion in revenue for the state. $9 billion. That’s a big number.
The Republican idea is to make this a revenue neutral tax by allowing for tax cuts in other places. This simple move would allow us to take positive steps towards cleaner sources of energy, transportation, and products. Overall, a pretty solid idea.
I would like to take the idea just a bit further. I suggest we take that $9 billion and put it towards protecting our state from the rising sea levels. With 1,350 miles of coastline, and more than 6.5 million Floridians living at an altitude of less than 6 feet above sea level (and most of them living in Miami), we desperately need to invest in protecting ourselves from the coming floods.
But Wait: There’s More!
Ideally, the revenue from the Carbon Tax could fund a Florida Corps of Engineers that works to prepare our state for the rising sea levels. We could build it into a public-private partnership where we hire engineering firms to start prepping our homes and our communities to survive the rising sea levels. Bottom line: more jobs.
Done right, this could become a strong industry for Florida and something we can export globally. Currently, Dutch water engineers account for about 2% of their exports (more than $10 billion annually) as they have this expertise. This market is only going to grow as sea levels continue to rise, and we don’t need to cede the market to the Dutch. We can use this money to create a homegrown industry.
The benefits would be threefold:
- Reduce our carbon footprint and thus stop furthering the initial problem
- Ensure Miami doesn’t go the way of Atlantis
- Develop a new local industry that can become a global leader
So why hasn’t this already happened?
There’s Always a Catch
The biggest emitter of CO2 nationwide is Electricity production (accounting for about 29% of all Greenhouse Gas Emissions), followed by Transportation (27%), and Industry (21%).
In Florida, Electric Utilities are some of the biggest donors to state political campaigns. You do the math.
But I’m not willing to just throw up my hands and give up. Our homes are literally on the line with this one, and I won’t back down.
If you agree with me that this is not only a good idea but something we need to do, I’d ask you to help me win this election. The Democratic Primary is on August 28th; I’d love your support. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.