Instead of investing in dirty fuels, let’s start charging polluters for poisoning our skies – and then invest the revenue so that it benefits everyone.
Each ton of carbon that’s released into the atmosphere costs our nation between $40 and $100, and we release millions tons of it every year.
Businesses don’t pay that cost. They pass it along to the rest of us—in the form of more extreme weather and all the costs to our economy and health resulting from it.
We’ve actually invested more than $6 trillion in fossil fuels since 2007. The money has been laundered through our savings and tax dollars.
This has got to be reversed.
We can clean our environment and strengthen the economy if we (1) divest from carbon polluters, (2) make the polluters pay a price to pollute, and (3) then collect the money.
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Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."