The Case for Carbon Dividends

In his new book, PERI’s James Boyce shows that the key to tackling climate change in a just and feasible way is to put a limit on carbon emissions, thereby raising the price of fossil fuels and generating strong incentives for clean energy. But, how do we secure broad public support for a policy that increases fuel costs for consumers? Boyce argues that carbon pricing can be made just and politically durable only if linked to returning the revenue to the public as carbon dividends. Founded on the principle that the gifts of nature belong to us all, not to corporations or governments, this bold reform could spark a 21st Century clean energy revolution.

Screen Shot 2019 07 21 at 1.57.21 PMPublished by Polity Press

>> Purchase book on Amazon or Polity
>> View Real News Network interview with author

The supreme challenge of our time is tackling climate change. We urgently need to curtail our use of fossil fuels - but how can we do so in a just and feasible way? In this compelling book, leading economist James Boyce shows that the key to solving this conundrum is to put a price on carbon emissions, thereby generating powerful incentives for clean energy. But there is a formidable hurdle: how do we secure broad public support for a policy that increases fuel costs for consumers? Boyce powerfully argues that carbon pricing can only be made just and politically durable if linked to returning the revenue to the public as carbon dividends. Founded on the principle that the gifts of nature belong to us all, not to corporations or governments, this bold reform could spark a 21st century clean energy revolution.

Praise for The Case for Carbon Dividends:

'A wonderfully clear-headed account of how we can fight both climate change and widening inequality: Consumers pay higher prices proportional to their carbon footprints but get the money back in the form of dividends in equal payments to every man, woman, and child. If there's to be a Green New Deal, this is the kind of policy we'll need.’
— Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor

‘Carbon dividends are key to dealing with the threats of a changing climate.Read this book to learn about an important part of the solution to this looming problem.’
— George P. Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State

‘Boyce makes clear the one climate policy that would work: 'carbon fee and dividend.' The public will love it -- it puts money in their pocket. Young people should demand it, to save their planet and their future.’
— James Hansen, former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

‘Congress must act to stop the rising damage and costs of climate change -- and that action must be based on sound scientific research. The carbon cap and dividend approach is a simple and fair way to require polluters to pay and put the money into the pockets of American taxpayers. And thanks to Professor Boyce’s research, we know just how effective it can be.’
— U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen 

‘This crisply written book makes a compelling – and highly accessible – case for using carbon pricing to tackle the twin challenges of our time: climate change and income inequality. Covering the science, the markets, and the politics, Boyce argues that a carbon dividend strategy is simple, effective, and fair. Regardless of where one falls in the nuances of the climate policy debate, this is a gem of a volume.’
— Manuel Pastor, director of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, University of Southern California 

‘Hooray for James Boyce’s Case for Carbon Dividends. In clear and compelling English, it explains the carbon pollution challenge and makes the case for citizen dividends as a straightforward solution. Too many global warming debates proceed in highly technical terms, leaving regular citizens – rightly -- worried that they will pay the price for new taxes and rules. But carbon dividends – equal remittances from carbon tax revenues sent to every American man, woman, and child each year -- are easy to understand, impose more costs on rich households that currently use more dirty energy, and would leave most working and middle-class families as net winners. This primer should kick start many community debates, because it tells us exactly how the United States can make rapid progress toward a green economy and become a more equal democracy in the process.’
— Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University, and Director of the Scholars Strategy Network

‘This is the best thing ever written on the subject. Clear, eloquent and irrefutable, it’s a must-read for all concerned with surviving the 21st century.’
— Peter Barnes, author of With Liberty and Dividends for All

This is an official web page
of the University of Massachusetts.

Political Economy Research Institute

Gordon Hall, 418 N. Pleasant St., Suite A

Amherst, MA 01002
Tel: 413-545-6355 Fax: 413-577-0261
Contact: