A hot tip from a fellow member of the CCL UK Media Team gave me the hook to write a letter about Climate Income that has been published in last Sunday’s Observer (26th July).
The trigger was an interview in the fashion section of the magazine with the supermodel and activist Lily Cole, whose book Who Cares Wins: Reasons for Optimism in Our Changing World is published on July 30th (Penguin Life). To our delight, Lily Cole ends the interview with a brilliant endorsement of CF&D – which offered a clear lead to this letter…..

Cole, not coal

Lily Cole describes two types of environmental activists, the wizards and the prophets (“We need to be more forgiving”, the Observer Magazine). Currently the prophets seem to grab the headlines in the UK, which results in surveys in which 59% of adults say they can’t afford to be greener. When asked what she would do if she were prime minister for the day, Cole described a method of carbon pricing known as “carbon fee and dividend”, which would enable us all to benefit from the wizardry without having to wear hair shirts.

This method, also known as “climate income”, is already adopted in Switzerland and Canada and is seriously being considered in the US. As Cole states, it would “put a price on pollution”, rendering greener fuels, heating, production methods etc cheaper than those made with fossil fuels. The monies earned from the escalating fees on fossil fuel extraction are given back to the public as a dividend. Our government has even acknowledged its advantages, but isn’t minded to adopt it at the moment.

We in the UK Citizens’ Climate Lobby are working hard to encourage our government to change its mind. Carbon fee and dividend could rebuild the economy in a way that doesn’t compound either the disastrous social and economic effects of the pandemic or the disastrous environmental effects of basing our “rebuilding” on fossil fuels.
Catherine Dawson
Devizes, Wiltshire

It’s only a few months now since a few of us formed the Media Team in order to share tip-offs, ideas for publication, and, especially, encouragement. There are numbers of possibilities to spread the word this way – check out Writing to the Media, under Action, on this site – but working as a team can increase our power. Please consider joining us – just drop a note to [email protected]. Remember, letters on the same topic persuade editors as well as MPs of that ‘groundswell of public opinion” which is such a key objective for CCL UK.

Meanwhile, if you fancy reading Who Cares Wins (and it does look like an enormously readable and thoughtful book), try to get a book review out on websites like Goodreads, Librarything.com, social media, local environmental group websites or parish newsletters – and send us a copy!

Green prophet: Lily Cole’s new book divides climate activist into Wizards (who innovate) and Prophets (who champion less consumption). Photograph: Phil Fisk/The Observer