Students for Carbon Fee and Dividend

The Bay Area plans to prevent possible damage from Climate Change.


Jessica Lin

Woodside High School parents, teachers, and other community members attended the protest for carbon fees and dividends on August 21.

Jessica Lin, Politics Editor

“If we want climate change to end,

We need a fee and dividend!”

Bay Area students and parents listening to key speakers. (Jessica Lin )

That’s what Bay area students, parents, and local government officials chanted as they marched up El Camino Real, then gathering in San Mateo Central Park promoting Carbon fees and dividends on 21th of August. 

The rally organizer, Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) San Mateo Youth, aims to promote a carbon fee and dividend, a system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address global warming. The system places a carbon tax on sales of fossil fuels and then distributes the tax revenue back to the citizens as a monthly income or regular payment.

Councilwoman Amouance Lee of San Mateo City Council, San Carlos Mayor Laura Parmer Lohan, and Deputy Mayor Rick Bonilla and CCL San Mateo Youth members stand together. (Jessica Lin )

Earlier this year, the White House updated the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, which will help the U.S. become net-zero by 2050. Yet climate change threatens citizen displacement from sea levels rising, and air pollution is killing over 100,000 people in the U.S. at rapidly increasing rates. Researchers say that the threat of sea-level rise by 2050 would affect the Bay Area cities such as East Palo Alto. Not only do rising sea levels concern many, but record high temperatures leave families scrambling to cool off. 

Woodside senior Claudia Nolasco was a key speaker at the rally, pleading on behalf of local communities and families for a carbon fee and dividend.

“We have so many communities in [the Bay Area], especially because we’re in a coastal area that will be affected [from sea level rising],” Nolasco stated. “We also have extremely high temperatures. This summer, we had days where it was really bad… I realize that there are children, in the future, who are going to be in the sea or at least affected by sea-level rising and heat.”

So how does a carbon fee and dividend help prevent such damages, and why is this the best way to combat climate change? 

Woodside senior and member of CCL San Mateo Youth, Chloe Montgomery, stated that taxing petroleum-producing companies such as CHEVRON and BP will make gas prices go up so that people would focus on using more sustainable energy. Then focusing the money from the tax to give back to lower-income communities. 

“[The reason] we are so passionate about a carbon fee and dividend [is] because of something called en-roads. MIT researchers developed it,” Montgomery continued.  “It is a simulator that demonstrates all the different ways we can address climate change and how much it will affect the world’s temperature. There’s aforestation, energy-efficient infrastructure, transportation… but carbon pricing will have an influence on just about all those and make sure that we stay as low as possible.”

Not only do citizens want a carbon fee and dividend, but key rally speaker, California Senator Josh Becker, also hopes for changes in the transportation department.

“The bottom line is, we need to have a higher carbon price,” Senator Becker stated. “In terms of helping people that are affected, one bill we are talking about in San Mateo is to remove the sales tax for used electric vehicles to make it more affordable.”

Bay Area students and parents hold up signs asking for a Carbon Fee and Dividend. (Jessica Lin )

Parents and grandparents in attendance expressed their worries and determination for climate action alongside students. 

“[The] science is really scary. I have a child and grandchildren. I want them to live in a healthy way, where they can breathe in the air and have a future,” retired teacher and now volunteer Karen Fine stated. 

Although there is no clear path for the legislation, rally attendees and organizers hope to continue to promote the carbon fee and dividend. 

“There are ways to reverse climate change, and there are ways that you and producing companies can help, even though it might seem super small. It’s not,” Nolasco said. “You are making change; people don’t realize that even the little things can bring a huge amount of change.”


Link to Peninsula Clean Energy   

Links to En-roads   

Link to Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) San Mateo Youth