What is climate change?
The uncontrolled release of carbon dioxide into the sky is causing
the temperature of the atmosphere and oceans to rise. This will
produce more frequent and intense storms, droughts, heat waves,
floods and fires than we currently endure. Over time, glaciers will
melt, sea levels will rise, tropical diseases will spread, and many
species will go extinct. For these reasons, climate change is the
most serious threat to our security that we face.
What is the Sky Trust?
The Sky Trust would be a non-governmental not-for-profit institution
that would manage America's dumping of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
How will it work?
The Sky Trust would sell a gradually diminishing number of carbon
emission permits to the approximately 2,000 oil, gas and coal companies
that bring fossil fuels into the U.S. economy. With the income from
these sales, the Sky Trust would pay equal yearly dividends to every
How will this help stop climate change?
The main cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels
(oil, coal and natural gas). The Sky Trust would gradually reduce
the number of carbon emission permits to a safe level. As it does
this, the price of burning carbon will rise. This will encourage
Americans to use less fossil fuel and to invest in alternative energy
Won't this lead to higher prices for gas and electricity?
Yes, it will. But Sky Trust dividends would fully compensate
average households for the higher prices. Those who use less fossil
fuels would come out ahead. Only high fossil fuel users would come
out behind-which is how it should be.
How will my family and I benefit from the Sky Trust?
Every American citizen, including children of any age, would
receive a yearly cash dividend from the Sky Trust. A family of four
could receive several thousand dollars a year. This income could
be used to offset higher energy prices. Or it could be deposited
in a tax-deferred Individual Retirement Account or children's savings
Has anything like this been done before?
There are two precedents for the Sky Trust. One is the Alaska
Permanent Fund, which pays equal annual dividends to all Alaskans
based on income from state oil leases. The second is the Acid
Rain Program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency,
which is gradually reducing U.S. sulfur emissions through a tradeable
Why is the Sky Trust just for the U.S.?
Climate change is a global problem but every country must find
its own way of reducing carbon emissions. The Sky Trust is a market-based
mechanism which minimizes bureaucracy and protects consumers. It's
therefore an ideal system for the U.S. If it succeeds here other
countries can copy it and start their own versions of the Sky Trust.
What do you mean by the "new commons"?
The "new commons" is the set of valuable assets we
inherit together, as part of a community, as distinct from assets
we inherit individually. It includes the air, water and other natural
ecosystems, as well as the broadcast spectrum used by TV and radio
stations, scientific knowledge, our cultural heritage, our political
and financial institutions, and the Internet. No person or corporation
"owns" these assets-they belong to us all. But because
our common ownership isn't legally defined, many of them are being
overused or appropriated by private interests. New institutions
like the Sky Trust would protect the new commons and assure that
the valuable assets in it are preserved and shared equitably.
What needs to happen now?
Congress needs to charter the Sky Trust and let it begin operating.
How can I help?
If enough Americans claim their share of the sky and demand
a say in how much carbon is dumped into it, Congress will have to
act. Be part of the solution. Claim your share of the sky by visiting
www.SkyOwners.org and encourage
your friends and family to do the same!