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Want to Save the Economy? Well Then it’s Time We “Make Polluters Pay”

The Big Picture

Dear fellow MoveOn member,

Here’s a big-picture idea: instead of investing in dirty fuels, let’s start charging polluters for poisoning our skies and then invest the revenue so that it benefits everyone.

Every ton of carbon that’s released into the atmosphere costs our nation between $40 and $100, and we release millions tons of it every year.1,2 Businesses don’t pay that cost. They pass it along to the rest of us—in the form of more extreme weather and all the costs to our economy and health resulting from it. What’s worse, we’ve actually invested more than $6 trillion in fossil fuels since 2007.3 Yikes!

 Watch Make Polluters Pay to see what would happen if our nation divested from carbon polluters, made the polluters pay a price to pollute, and then collected the money.

Make Polluters Pay is the latest in the “Big Picture” series I’m working on with MoveOn. And MoveOn members will campaign together on the ideas that we’re all most excited about.

If you’re looking for a win-win when it comes to tackling climate change, you won’t want to miss watching and sharing this video.

Thanks for all you do.

–Robert Reich

P.S. This is the ninth idea in our “Big Picture” series. In case you missed the first eight, once you’ve watched Make Polluters Pay, be sure to check out the rest of the videos. Remember, by watching and then sharing individual “Big Picture” videos, you’re showing that you’re excited about a particular idea—which will help us hone in on what to work on in the coming months.


1. “Social Cost of Carbon Pollution Fact Sheet,” CostofCarbon.org, April 2014

2. “World carbon dioxide emissions data by country: China speeds ahead of the rest,” The Guardian, January 31, 2011

3. “G20: fossil fuel fears could hammer global financial system,” The Telegraph, April 29, 2015