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Waiter, there's a climate surcharge in my bill

How a 1% surcharge on restaurant bills can help fight climate change.

BY RSVP January 22,2020

Restaurants in California are banding together to fight climate change in an interesting way. Concerned restaurants can sign on to the Restore California Renewable Restaurant program, which pledges to add a 1% surcharge to diners' bills.

This initiative is managed by the nonprofit Zero Foodprint. It will funnel the money it raises into grants for farmers engaged in carbon farming—growing food with a focus on replenishing the soil’s health in order to increase the amount of carbon dioxide it can sequester. Farmers receive $10 per ton of carbon removed from the atmosphere. It has been estimated by the Perennial Farming Initiative that a mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils "could offset all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere."

The surcharge is voluntary, which means that diners can opt-out, but as more people look for ways to make a difference in the fight to protect the environment, it seems likely to catch on.

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