Economy, Energy & Climate
“As a fiscal conservative I am convinced that global warming is a potential existential risk - and that there are solutions that are politically and economically viable.”
Grant Couch is a Co-Founder of the Conservative Caucus of the non-partisan group Citizens' Climate Lobby. He gives talks around the country on market-based solutions to climate change from a fiscal conservative's perspective.
Until Grant left full-time work, he never gave much thought to what people called “global warming.” However, after studying the issue of climate change, he became convinced it is a major risk that will lead to increasing costs associated with recovering from more intense weather events, building walls along the US sea coasts, etc. — not to mention the related human suffering associated with climate related refugees and the necessary need for increased national security expenditures.
After Grant received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA he worked in finance — primarily on Wall Street where managing risk in the face of constant uncertainty and ever changing "facts" is a moment-to-moment reality. Grant sees climate change through this same risk management lens. The complexity of climate models creates a lot of uncertainty. Therefore, we cannot know exactly how bad it will be or how quickly it will force itself upon us, but ignoring the risk is not in America's best interest.
Fortunately, there is a solution to climate risk — a border-adjusted, revenue-neutral price on carbon with dividends to all American households. Such a solution will provide a market-based response to the challenge without growing the government. It allows for a reduction in U.S. regulations and subsidies and supports growth in the U.S. economy and jobs. This carbon fee and dividend solution will also protect our lower-income population from higher energy prices and help address the increasing energy needs of the developing world while accelerating the shift away from fossil fuels. It's a carbon pricing policy that is strong, built to last and fair — without a macro cost to the American economy or taxpayers.
Revenue-neutrality means that none of the revenues collected by the government are kept in DC. Instead the revenues can be used to reduce other taxes (e.g. corporate, personal or payroll income taxes). However Grant prefers using the revenues to pay dividends to American households like the proposal advocated by the Republican-led group, Climate Leadership Council or the non-partisan group, Citizens Climate Lobby. Household dividends are the most direct and transparent way to offset the regressive nature of higher energy costs for those least able to pay for it.
It is important to acknowledge how much we owe fossil fuels — and the companies that have extracted, refined and delivered them — for their invaluable contribution to supporting the industrial revolution and thereby improving the wellbeing of humans across the globe. However, while there are certainly other human-induced causes of global warming, the production and burning of fossil fuels is by far the largest single contributor and a gradually increasing price on carbon will help internalize that negative externality.
The challenge of addressing climate change is a concern of all Americans. Using a bi-partisan solution of carbon fee & dividend is also a way to help bridge our current political divide – a way to preserve and strengthen our democracy through climate change solutions that are market-based and bi-partisan.
Retiring in 2008 as President and COO of Countrywide Securities Corp., Grant moved to Boulder CO as CEO of Sounds True, a position he held for 2 years before leaving full time work. He chaired the board of Manhattan Bancorp and the Bank of Manhattan until 2015 when they were both acquired by Plaza Bank. Currently Grant is a member of the investment committee of Aravaipa Ventures, a Boulder VC fund focused on impact technology.
Recommended Energy & Climate Resources
Climate Leadership Council — clcouncil.org
Conservatives for Clean Energy — cleanenergyconservatives.com
The Center for Climate & Security — climateandsecurity.org
Citizens' Climate Lobby — citizensclimatelobby.org
R Street Institute — rstreet.org
Niskanen Center — niskanencenter.org
World Resources Institute — wri.org
Center for the New Energy Economy — cnee.colostate.edu
The Partnership for Responsible Growth — partnershipforresponsiblegrowth.org