By Andrea Farber De Zubiria
Monster storms and raging wildfires, toxic air, rising seas and melting permafrost. All over the world, climate change is causing scary stuff. In the Central Valley, the rising temperature trend is threatening crop stability, mosquitos are proliferating and this summer and fall seemed like one bad air day after another.
There is, however, a refreshing dose of practical hope: On Nov. 27, 2018, five courageous members of Congress introduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 7173) into the House. Since November, one more Republican and one more Democrat have signed on as co-sponsors including California’s own Rep. Anna Eshoo (D–Asherton).
This historic bill calls for a starting fee of $15/ton of CO2 on oil, gas and coal based on the greenhouse gas emissions they produce. The money from the fee would be allocated directly to American households as a monthly rebate or “dividend.” The fee would gradually rise, signaling businesses that they need to start changing their policies, stimulating innovation and allowing them time to adjust to the fee.
To protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs, goods imported from countries that do not have an equivalent carbon price will pay a border carbon adjustment. Goods exported from the United States to such countries will receive a refund under this policy.
Here are some of the reasons that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is being supported by many economists, scientists and a growing group of policy makers on both sides of the aisle:
- Effective. The bill will reduce America’s emissions by at least 40% within 12 years. It is simple and comprehensive.
- Good for people. Reduced pollution will improve health and save lives. The carbon dividend puts money directly into people’s pockets every month, especially helping low- and middle-income Americans.
- Good for the economy. In-depth studies have shown that this policy will create 2.1 million jobs over the next 10 years, thanks to growth in the clean energy economy.
- Revenue neutral. The fees collected on carbon emissions will be allocated to all Americans to spend any way they choose. The government will not keep any of the fees collected, so the size of government will not grow.
We will hear more about this bill when Congress comes back in session in 2019 and the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is reintroduced. Visit www.energyinnovationsact.org to learn more. Also, visit www.cclusa.org/energy-innovation-act to encourage your Congressional representative to support the bill.
Andrea Farber De Zubiria is a mother, grandmother, poet and healthcare provider. She is the media team chair for Citizens’ Climate Lobby Fresno. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.