Ten Utah student body presidents endorse carbon dividends climate plan

Student government presidents from colleges and universities across Utah are calling on Congressional leaders to act on climate change and support the bipartisan solution known as carbon dividends. In a letter sent to Utah’s Congressional leaders today, ten Utah student body presidents–who represent more than 180,000 Utah students–called for lawmakers to recognize and respond to the urgency of the climate challenge and champion solutions that both protect the environment and strengthen the economy.

“With so much at stake for our generation, it’s time for our elected leaders to forge consensus around solutions that both parties can support,” the letter said. “That’s why we believe in the cornerstone solution known as carbon dividends.”

Ten Utah student body presidents signed the letter. This includes the following 2020-21 student government leaders:

  • Utah State University — Sami Ahmed
  • University of Utah — Ephraim Kum
  • Utah State University Eastern — Sione Siaki
  • Utah Valley University — Danielle Corbet
  • Weber State University — Benjamin Ferney
  • Westminster College — Obaid Barakzai
  • Salt Lake Community College — Emily Hernandez
  • Snow College — Matthew Griffin
  • Southern Utah University — Nouman Kante
  • Brigham Young University — Spring Cullen

Carbon dividends is an ambitious, bipartisan solution to climate change that would establish a carbon price to spur clean energy innovation and drive emissions reductions. The plan advanced by James A. Baker III and the late George P. Shultz would cut U.S. CO2 emissions in half by 2035. The revenue would be returned to the American public in quarterly checks, with a family of four receiving around $2,000 per year. In addition, redundant regulations would be phased out, and a border carbon adjustment would be established to protect the competitiveness of the US economy. This carbon dividends framework has garnered the support of more than 3,500 leading economists across the country, including many from Utah.

“We are grateful for Utah’s natural beauty and resources. I hope our leaders will be wise environmental stewards by caring for our planet and preserving it for future generations,” said Nouman Kante, student body president of Southern Utah University.

“We have been proud to see our Congressional leaders, like Senator Mitt Romney, highlight the importance of climate change to our country’s security and prosperity,” said Danielle Corbet, student body president of Utah Valley University. “Now is the time to coalesce around a concrete plan that will get the job done.”

“The Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan has emerged as the leading market-based climate strategy,” said Ephraim Kum, student body president of University of Utah. “No other climate solution has garnered as much support from businesses and environmental leaders alike.”

In stepping forward to support carbon dividends, these student body presidents join 400 fellow student government leaders nationwide who have signed the Student Government Leaders’ Statement on Carbon Dividends. Collectively, this represents the largest declaration of student government presidents in US history–all in support of the carbon dividends solution.

As today’s letter summarizes: “For Utah, this plan offers a way to safeguard our pristine landscapes, protect our natural resources and position our clean tech industry to thrive. But most important, it will preserve our way of life for our children and grandchildren.”