There is nothing as effective as immediate self-interest to generate action—for both individuals and corporations. The Cap-and-Dividend plan of the bill HR 1027, now submitted to Congress, works on that principle. The government auctions off permits to emit CO2, and hands out all the money gained in equal dividends to every man, woman, and child.

This will result in some price increases, but people who take many trips, live in houses needing lots of energy to heat and cool, and buy lots of things that require energy to make and use, will lose on the deal, unless they cut back on their consumption. Families making less than $120,000 on average will come out ahead, because their dividends will more than cover the price increases.

Over time, the number of permits offered will be reduced, lowering our CO2 emissions. This will raise the auction prices, so the heavy consumers will pay more, while others will gain more, at a cost of zero to the country. All will have increasing incentives to reduce their CO2 emissions, and all will have some money to do it.

ACTION: Ask your Representative to co-sponsor this important bill, HR 1027, the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act. Joseph Kennedy III, Washington, DC: 202 225-5931; Newton: 617 332-3333; e-mail:

Thanks to 20/20 Action, a national environmental advocacy group based in Greater Boston for this important action. Members of Green Newton and other activists meet every month to develop these actions which are sent to subscribers in the U.S. See