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Big News: A Carbon Fee Bill is Introduced! Supported by Citizens’ Climate Lobby, including the Delaware CCL Chapter

Marianne Gabel

With a nonpartisan hat firmly in place, this Delaware County Democratic Party (DCDP) Executive Committee member is writing to tell you about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA), introduced this month in the U.S. House of Representatives by a bipartisan group. What an important moment this is in the fight for the future of the earth!

Why is this bill important? The nonpartisan group Citizens’ Climate Lobby (I’m a member, along with at least three other DCDP Executive Committee members) has been working to get a “carbon fee and dividend” bill into Congress for ten years. Support for this bill is critical, given the short time that we have for slowing global warming to a livable level for the earth.

How will it work? This bill would impose a fee on carbon (starting at $15 per metric ton of CO2 released) paid at the fossil fuel well-head or mine. The fee would rise by $10 per year. This system will be market-based (not regulatory), transparent and predictable, which gives it bipartisan appeal. Any climate policy, to be successful, must have bipartisan support.

Foreseeing higher prices (predictability is important), businesses will plan a rapid transition to clean/renewable energy; demand will foster innovation and lower prices, especially compared to the rising prices for fossil fuels. Prices for carbon-carrying products will rise during the transition, but here’s the good news: all funds collected would be returned to individual people for whatever they want to spend the “dividend” on. Nothing would go to the Government except for an administration fee to the Treasury.

Every month, like Social Security payments, every American with a SS# will get an equal share of the previous month’s collections. Every child under 19 would be allocated a one-half share. For the majority of middle and lower income Americans, the dividend (increasing every year with the proceeds of the annually rising carbon fee) will cover the increased costs of the transitioning economy. People could also choose lower-carbon alternatives (green energy; fuel-efficient cars; home insulation; “smart” metering) to save more of their dividend.

More information: Importantly for Ohio, there would be an exception for fuel used in agriculture. There would also be an equalizing system at the nation’s borders to protect American goods from competition from no-carbon-fee countries.

The CO2 reduction schedule would exceed the emissions reduction planned under the Obama Clean Power Plan (which has never been permitted to go into effect). US emissions will be targeted to decrease by 90% in 2050. If the reduction trajectory is falling short after ten years, there are provisions for additional steps to reduce emissions even faster.

Big “side benefits”: With lower carbon emissions in the air, Americans would be healthier. The dividend money that they spend, going into the economy, would stimulate jobs.

There’s no way that one article can cover all the details of the EICDA. Executive Committee members can send questions about the bill or about CCL to emgabel@gmail.com.

About Citizens’ Climate Lobby: CCL is nonpartisan. Our mission is to build support in Congress for a national bipartisan solution to climate change, by building respectful and informative working relationships with Congress. We had great success in growing a relationship with Rep. Pat Tiberi, who joined the Climate Solutions Caucus in the House.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s Delaware chapter meetings is held on the second Saturday of each month, 11:30 to 1:30. Email emgabel@gmail for more information about this bill and our local meetings.

Marianne Gabel is a lawyer, environmentalist, and founder of the local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.