My Turn: We need bees, so we need a carbon fee

For the Monitor
Published: 6/8/2020 6:00:20 AM

For the people of my generation, climate change is a major concern. As a highly involved member of my school’s beekeeping club, the local pollinators are one of my top concerns when I think about climate change.

The shifting temperatures are detrimental to an already suffering bee population, and can cause extra environmental stressors such as shifts in seasonal timing, habitat loss and higher susceptibility to diseases. Aside from not being able to drink my tea with honey in the mornings, I worry about the global environmental impacts of a declining bee population. Bees have been named as the most important species on earth by scientists. As I like to say, no bees, no trees.

To save the bees and, in turn, our global ecosystems, there are many possible ways in which we could address this pressing issue. Yet, there is one that both leading scientists and economists agree is our best first step.

According to a statement published last year in the Wall Street Journal and backed by more than 3,500 American economists, including 27 Nobel Laureates, a carbon fee “offers the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the scale and speed that is necessary.” This same carbon fee is included in the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

Along with helping bees, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act will also protect low- and middle-income families and small businesses, and it will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the most economically friendly and environmentally conscious way possible.

According to a study by the Regional Economic Model Incorporated (REMI), two-thirds of all American families will either break even or receive more money in their monthly dividend than they pay in higher prices due to the trickling down of the carbon fee paid by fossil fuel producers and importers. (See how your family does at

In addition to the economic and environmental benefits, the associated reduction of air pollution from fossil fuels would also save 230,000 lives in the first 20 years.

Globally speaking, many major countries have already established systems of carbon fees and are already engaging in transforming their economies into more economically sustainable ones. In failing to reform, the United States would only benefit from short-term economic gains. In the long term it will only mean injuries, from less competitive methods of production, and from the continual pollution coming out of those methods of production. The price of failing to reform is ultimately paid by the American people.

We can understand the problems and the solutions to climate change, but if we don’t take action then neither will Congress. Recently I became a member of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization that helps people create the political will within Congress to pass this effective, bipartisan legislation. You can find out more at or take a few minutes to write Congress at

This is a collective action problem. One voice alone won’t make a difference, but all of ours together will. The bees, and we, depend on it.

(Natalie Young lives in Windham.)


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