FEDERAL LEGISLATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, CARBON PRICING, AND DIVIDENDS
Over the past decade Congress has considered climate legislation, and some bills have proposed returning significant revenues to households.
Climate Leadership Council lists its Founding Members, including several physicists, economists, CEOs, major corporations, and oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, Shell, and BP.
Mike Sandler on HuffPost 7-2-17: Climate Justice Groups and Big Oil Agree On Climate Dividends
James Boyce in Institute for New Economic Thinking blog 2-13-17: Carbon Dividends: The Bipartisan Key to Climate Policy?
James K. Boyce and Peter Barnes in Triplecrisis.com 11-25-16: $200 a Month for Everyone? Universal Income from Universal Assets
In 2015, Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA) introduced a Fee and Dividend (REBATE) bill. As the name says, it is a fee and dividend bill, not cap and dividend. But it is a way to educate people about dividends.
Chad Stone of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities wrote a paper 9-21-2015: The Design and Implementation of Policies to Protect Low-Income Households under a Carbon Tax. He discusses approaches to provide cash rebates to low-income households, including using household size adjusted, delivered via existing pathways such as the Earned Income Tax credit (EITC), Social Security (SS) and food stamps (SNAP). He is not looking at universal dividends as much as low-income, but he does talk from an equity perspective (which is more than some people are doing).
In June 2015, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) released proposed legislation, the American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act. The fee would start at the administration’s central social cost of carbon estimate ($45 per metric ton in 2016) and increase annually by a real 2 percent. It is not a universal dividend, instead it is a combination of reduced taxes for businesses, tax rebate (up to $500 per person), increased Social Security benefits to those receiving SS, and displaced worker and rural assistance through states.
On February 24, 2015, Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2015, which Peter Barnes has called the “gold standard” for climate bills, with 100% dividend return. More information at www.climateandprosperity.org.
Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08), Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-17), Congressman Gerald Connolly (VA-11), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Congressman Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Congressman Peter Welch (VT-At Large), Congressman Charles Rangel (NY-13), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-28), Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), Congressman John Conyers (MI-13), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11).
Washington Post Editorial 2-24-15: Focus legislative energy on a national carbon policy, not Keystone XL
n July 30, 2014, Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2014, which is the “gold standard” for climate bills, with 100% dividend return. More information at www.climateandprosperity.org.
Press release from Congressman Chris Van Hollen
Professor James K. Boyce op-ed in the New York Times 7-30-14: The Carbon Dividend
Theda Skocpol on Scholars Strategy Network August 2013: Why Now is the Time to Build a Broad Citizen Movement for Green Energy Dividends
James Boyce in TripleCrisis blog 3-14-14: Rent in a Warming World
E&E News 7-23-13: Prominent Dem prepares climate bill as others seek business support for carbon tax
March 2013: House Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI), have released a carbon price bill “discussion draft” and have asked for public comment. Comments may be submitted to the lawmakers at firstname.lastname@example.org. The comment period ends April 12. Of particular interest to Carbon Share and Dividend supporters is Section 9 of the draft bill titled “Returning Fees to the American People” and one of the questions for public comment is: What are the best ways to return the revenue to the American people?
February 2013: Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Bernie Sanders propose a plan that would impose an upstream fee on carbon emissions, with three-fifths of revenues refunded to residents as a Family Clean Energy Rebate. Link to Boxer/Sanders bill.
Progress Illinois blog 2-18-14: Obama’s Former Energy Chief Talks Cap & Trade, Disappointing Energy Efficiency Standards Former Secretary of Energy and Nobel laureate Stephen Chu: “You have to keep it simple. Cap-and-trade philosophically does work, but you have to keep it brutally simple.” What would Chu do with the tax revenue? “Give it back to the American people,” he responded. “Mail them a check each month. It’s a progressive way of giving back the money … you can spend it on whatever you want. The big bad government’s not going to tell you what to do. So if you want to buy a 15 mile-per-gallon car, that’s OK. Here’s the money, you decide. No government program. Revenue neutral.”
Senators Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders on SFGate.com 1-8-14: Congress should put a price on carbon pollution
New York Times Opinionator 5-29-13: Lobbying for the Greater Good
James Hansen blog 5-29-13: The American Party
Jim Boyce at Gund Institute Video 4-22-13: Carbon Pricing as Property Creation
Citizen’s Climate Lobby member op-ed in the St. Louis Post Dispatch 4-19-13: A GOP-free market solution to climate change
Letter to Editor in Lincoln, NE Journal Star 3-26-13: Pass Fee and Dividend Measure
San Francisco Chronicle 2-13-13: Boxer’s push is a twist on carbon tax
Mark Reynolds of CCL in the Iowa Press-Citizen 2-24-13: Market-based approaches and climate change solutions
Raw Story 2-13-13: Sens. Sanders and Boxer to introduce bill that funnels carbon taxes to American families
TriplePundit blog 2-18-13: Bold New Senate Bill Addresses Climate Change
Grist.org 2-15-13: Sanders and Boxer introduce ‘fee and dividend’ climate bill; greens tickled pink
Theda Skocpol paper January 2013: Naming the Problem, see page 123, conclusions: “For inside the Beltway types, the easy choice will be to try ever more insider efforts to get a cap and trade system or carbon taxes, with new revenues to be dispensed in relatively opaque ways through complicated stakeholder bargains. But for strategists who suspect that more of the same kind of politics will not work, cap and dividend approaches hold the possibility of constructing a new political movement in the next few years. A carefully organized drive for cap and dividend might well bring together environmental advocates, green businesses, and many unions and citizen associations to support the enactment of carbon-emissions caps and the subsequent ratcheting-up of the tax levels to ensure that the United States completes a transition to a green economy, with ordinary citizens reaping economic benefits along the way.”
Link to Scholars Strategy Network’s page on The Politics of America’s Fight against Global Warming
Mark Engler in Dissent, Democracy Rising and Truthout 7-23-13: Climate of Change: An “Inside-Outside” Strategy Against Global Warming?
Jim Boyce in TripleCrisis blog 2-27-13: U.S. Climate Policy: Take Five
Mike Tidwell in Grist 2-1-13: Harvard professor has it right: U.S. climate push requires intense grassroots support around ‘cap-and-dividend’ bill
Opinion piece in the Tennessean 1-22-13: Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker must take lead in reducing global warming
Michael Howard of the University of Maine in the Bangor, Maine Daily News 12-2-12: Want the public to heed global warming threats? Cap carbon emissions, pay dividends to everyone
Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced the Managed Carbon Price Act on August 2, 2012.
Seattle Times on 8-2-12: McDermott to roll out carbon tax bill to address climate change
Reuters 8-3-12: Lawmaker offers new approach to price carbon in U.S
Scholars Strategy Network: Cap Carbon Emissions and Pay Dividends to Citizens – A Strategy to Unite Americans Against Global Warming
Climate Progress 8-6-12: Rep. Jim McDermott Introduces Carbon Tax Law
The PointCarbon newsletter 8-3-12 says: “The Managed Carbon Price (MCP) is unlike a traditional carbon tax, because the MCP creates a flexible price system that provides certainty by accounting for volatility in the energy markets, requires specific emissions reductions, and addresses any increase in energy costs with dividend payments to the public,” according to a bill summary. Like previous “cap-and-dividend” proposals that have been floated by senators during the last Congress <see CLEAR Act below>, the bill would call for 75 percent of revenues to be returned to consumers in the form of a monthly dividend and the remainder to go toward direct deficit reduction.”
The CLEAR Act (2009-2010):
In December 2009, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal (CLEAR) Act that takes a Cap and Dividend approach. The CLEAR Act sets an economy-wide carbon cap, auctions permits to fuel producers and returns 75% of the resulting revenue in checks to every American, and the remaining 25% as investments through a Clean Energy Reinvestment Trust (CERT Fund). With its “cap and dividend” approach, this bill would help the U.S. make a fair, affordable transition to a clean-energy, low-carbon economy, and avoid the pitfalls of other climate bills that pander to the coal-burning utilities and Wall Street traders.
Send a letter asking your Senator to support the CLEAR Act
• According to a study by James Boyce at UMass, Amherst, nationally, over 75% of Americans come out ahead under the CLEAR Act. That is, their dividends will exceed the higher carbon prices they’ll pay with a $25/ton carbon price. This will hold true no matter how high carbon prices rise. In other words, CLEAR provides permanent pocketbook protection for three-fourths of Americans, and considerable help for the rest.
• A majority of Americans come out ahead in all 50 states.
• The median American family of four comes out ahead by $316, while a typical low-income family of four gains $740. In other words, the CLEAR Act is good for low- and middle-income families in every state.
CLEAR Act Frequently Asked Questions (doc)
Net benefits to a California family of four from the CLEAR Act (pdf)
CLEAR Economics by Boyce and Riddle, UMass Amherst, March 2010 (pdf) This report on the economics of the CLEAR Act estimates that a $25/ton carbon permit price would produce a $297 per capita dividend in 2020. The report also lists average cost impacts by state and by income decile. It also provides a policy option of state-specific dividends that would produce a net benefit of $65 per person in 2020. However, a better method of equalizing state impacts is through the CERT Fund. Finally, the report estimates jobs created by the CERT Fund in each state.
As of May 2010, Senate leadership is focused on a compromise bill from Kerry-Lieberman (KL) instead of the CLEAR Act. Senator Graham has withdrawn his sponsorship of K-L, and as of late May 2010 there is no Republican sponsor of that bill. Additionally, it does not contain a cap and dividend approach and contains subsidies and giveaways to coal-burning utilities and fuel companies, and billions of offsets.
Here are more articles and blogs about the CLEAR Act.
Supporters Statement on the Importance of the CLEAR Act (43 groups and counting)
Letter from 12 U.S. Senators 7-21-10: Calling for “returning a majority of the revenue generated from pricing carbon directly to American households.” The signing Senators are Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Al Franken (D-MN).
Letter from faith organizations (Faith Economy Ecology Working Group) supporting the CLEAR Act 4-19-10
Cities are passing resolutions in support of the CLEAR Act
Links to recent articles and blogs about Shares, Dividends, and the CLEAR Act:
More links at www.supportclearact.com
James Boyce on Triple Crisis blog 9-2-12: Don’t Pay Polluters
Boston Globe 7-12-12: Texas judge rules atmosphere, air is public trust (article about public trust lawsuit strategy, based in part on this article. Here is a link to the complaint against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Here is the Judge’s actual finding.)
James Hansen in NY Times 5-9-12: Game Over for the Climate
Peter Barnes on the On the Commons blog 2-17-12: Economic Security Beyond Jobs
Center for American Progress 9-15-11: The Price Is Right Carbon Pricing Would Cut the Deficit and Create Jobs
Jay Wallsjasper in Minneapolis Star Tribune 7-30-11: Yours, mine and ours — under threat
Professor James Boyce on the Triple Crisis blog 5-26-11: The Climate Justice Imperative
Judith D. Schwartz on truthout blog 5-24-11:Pricing Carbon to Reduce Emissions, Create Dividends
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell speaks about the CLEAR Act at an energy conference sponsored by The Brookings Institution and The Hamilton Project 5-18-11
US Basic Income Guarantee Network blog
Peter Barnes, Bill McKibben in Solutions Journal 1-14-09: A Simple Market Mechanism to Clean Up Our Economy
Scientific American 1-4-11: A Political Wish List
RIFuture.org blog 12-6-10: Tax Pollution Not People
American Pendulum blog 11-17-10: Global Warming Coming on rapidly, Scientists Say
George Lakoff in Buzzflash 9-28-10: George Lakoff Who the White House Needs More Than Ever: On Environmental Communication
Peter Barnes in Yes Magazine 9-13-10: Clear Act: A Climate Bill That Can Pass
Michael Beckel of Center for Responsive Politics on Opensecrets.org blog 8-27-10: Bipartisan Bill to Price Carbon Faces Long Odds — and Many Lobbyists
Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth Stanton on truthout.org blog 8-24-10: How to Build a Better Climate Policy
Bill McKibben in the LA Times 8-4-10: Climate change: It’s time to talk, and act, tough Environmentalists have tried the compromise route. It hasn’t worked.
Mike Sandler in Huffington Post Green 8-3-10: CSI: DC — Investigating the Grisly Murder of a Climate Bill Gone Wrong
Phil Sizemore in DailyKos 8-2-10: Benefits of a Cap-and-Dividend System
Evansville CourierPress 7-28-10: CLEAR Act will pay dividends
Lee Wasserman Op-Ed in the New York Times 7-26-10: Four Ways to Kill a Climate Bill
James Boyce on Real Climate Economics blog 7-19-10: Essentials of Smart Climate Policy
Jonathan Alter in New York Times 7-18-10: Sound Bites for Bold Plans (mentions “cap and rebate”)
George Lakoff on on Huffington Post Green 7-15-10: Make Money by Saving Nature
Blog on MLive.com (Michigan) 7-15-10: Don’t like “cap and trade” for GHG emission control? How about “cap and dividend”?
James Boyce on Real Climate Economics blog 7-12-10: A Bipartisan Climate Bill in Partisan Times?
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) interviewed in Grist 6-30-10: You can’t run up the white flag until you have the fight
The RGGI raid: how cap-and-trade revenues went to fix state budgets 6-26-10 (about how funds may be misappropriated if allocated for projects rather than dividends)
Mary Ellen Harte and John Harte on Huffington Post Green 6-22-10: Addressing Climate Change: Most Voters Approve Cantwell-Collins Approach
Maine Public Broadcasting Network 6-22-10: Maine Senators Face Mounting Pressure to Back Climate Change Bill
SunBreak blog 6-21-10: The CLEAR Act, from Cantwell & Collins, Get Its Close-up
NY Daily News 6-21-10: Common sense & crude oil can mix: Things may be changing after Joe Barton’s idiotic apology to BP
Senators Maria Cantwell and Susan Collins in Washington Post 6-18-10: A cap-and-dividend way to a cleaner nation and more jobs
Two minute overview of the CLEAR Act on YouTube 6-17-10
Mike Sandler on Huffington Post Green 6-10-10: A Climate Bill to Punish BP and Benefit America
Climate Today blog on the CLEAR Act
NationalJournal.com 6-7-10: Senators Want EIA To Analyze Cantwell-Collins Bill Here’s the letter sent by Senators Bingaman, Murkowski, Cantwell, Collins, and Voinovich.
Miryam Ehrlich Williamson blog 6-7-10: Climate Change Legislation Getting Warmer
LTE in Keene Sentinel (NH) 6-4-10: Nuclear is not the right answer
Of Peace and Politics blog (Friends Committee on National Legislation intern) 6-4-10
Bloomberg BusinessWeek 6-3-10: The Smooth-Talking King of Coal—and Climate Change (troubling article about the giveaways in Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Lieberman)
LTE in West Seattle Herald 6-1-10: Beating the Pavement
George Lakoff on Huffington Post 5-28-10: Obama’s Missing Moral Narrative (on the oil spill, mentions CLEAR)
Silver City Sun News (NM) OpEd 5-24-10: Cap legislation would serve us well
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater on Huffington Post 5-24-10: Starting Oil’s Retirement Party
Flathead Beacon (Montana) 5-23-10: In D.C., Flathead Residents Press Senators on Climate Change Bill
Mike Sandler on Huffington Post Green 5-18-10: K-L Climate Bill Victimized By “Stall, Water-Down and Ditch” (about K-L and CLEAR)
Billings Gazette 5-18-10: No one fond of Senate’s global-warming bill (about K-L and CLEAR)
Kennebec Journal, Online Sentinel, Maine 5-13-10: Collins takes up fight against carbon emissions
Bismarck Tribune 5-1-10: Delegation looks for energy diversity
Denis Hayes on HuffingtonPost 4-28-10: Climate Compromise, Not Capitulation
Friends of the Earth President on HuffingtonPost 4-28-10: Time for a Do-Over on Clean Energy Legislation
John Passacantando on Grist 4-27-10: The upside of the Senate climate bill’s troubles
Solve Climate blog 4-27-10: If Sen. Graham Bails, Is There a Climate and Energy Backup Plan?
Sustainable Business Oregon 4-26-10: A bipartisan bill in partisan times?
Mike Tidwell in Baltimore Sun 4-22-10: Bag tax: Behavior change in Washington could solve global warming
Yale Environment 360 4-21-10: A New Approach in the Senate To Putting a Price on Carbon
The Hill 4-20-10: Collins: GOP political support for carbon caps depends on where the money goes
Triple Pundit blog 4-20-10: Can Cap and Dividend Save Cap and Trade?
The Nation editorial 4-15-10 (in May 3rd issue): Earth to Congress
James Boyce in Foreign Policy in Focus blog 4-15-10: Will America Buy a New Climate Policy?
Washington Post blog OpEd 4-9-10: CLEAR Act delivers, study says (discusses a study released by Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law)
Senator Cantwell interviewed on Living on Earth “Cash for Climate” 4-9-10
Environmental Leader blog 4-7-10: Why Congress should take a CLEAR Approach to Climate Change
Bill McKibben in The New Republic 4-5-10: Bringing the Heat: Forget cap-and trade. This is a climate bill you can love.
Philadelphia Daily News OpEd 4-2-10: Obama joins ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ team
City of Santa Rosa, Calif. passes resolution in support of the CLEAR Act 3-31-10 (photo)
North Bay Bohemian (Sonoma County, CA) 3-31-10: CLEAR Direction
New Energy News blog 3-30-10: Cap & Dividend CLEAR-ED for Consideration (incl maps from Boyce paper)
Mother Jones blog 3-25-10: The Other Climate Bill
BusinessWeek 3-24-10: Climate Bill Must Drop Carbon Market, Cantwell Says
Sens. Cantwell and Collins explain CLEAR Act to Bipartisan Policy Center on Youtube 3-24-10
Anchorage Daily News op-ed 3-19-10: The path to sustainable living here is CLEAR
Ted Glick on Truthout 3-18-10: Climate Legislation: The CLEAR Choice
Public Citizen letter against offsets and in support of CLEAR
AARP letter to Sen. Cantwell in support of dividends
National Journal Expert Energy Blog 3-15-10: Should Carbon Be Priced Sector By Sector?
Las Cruces Sun-News op-ed 3-14-10: The CLEAR choice: families before corporations
Seacoastonline.com 3-10-10: Sen. Collins: energy bill could jump start Senate
Hill Heat 3-9-10: AARP Endorses Cantwell-Collins
Asher Miller, Post Carbon Institute on Reuters Blog 3-3-10: Senator Graham shouts “Play Ball!”
Billings Outpost 2-24-10: The end of climate change?
Idaho Statesman blog 2-17-10: New climate bill would give Idaho families the most benefits
Denver Post editorial 2-16-10: Fresh start on carbon battle
Washington Post editorial 2-10-10: Senate offers some hope for legislation to combat climate change
Globe and Mail (Canada) 2-9-10: Cap-and-dividend: the jolt Harper needs?
Earth Day Network blog 2-5-10: Economist Endorses the CLEAR act over a Cap and Trade Bill
The Economist print edition 2-4-10: A refreshing dose of honesty: Maria Cantwell and the politics of global warming
Mike Tidwell Chesapeake Climate Action Network 2-4-10: YouTube video on CLEAR Act and resources
Campaign for America’s Future blog 2-4-10: Cap-and-Trade and Cap-and-Dividend Can Be Friends!
Mike Sandler on Huffington Post Green 2-4-10: Real Feasibility: Dividends Relieve Economic Uncertainty
Rabbi Arthur Waskow on the Shalom Center blog 2-3-10: Cash for Carbon: New Climate-Crisis “Cap-and-Dividend” bill would pay cash to all Americans
David Morris in Minneapolis Star-Tribune 1-28-10: Instead of cap and trade, cap and dividend
Robert Costanza and Joshua Farley in Solutions Journal January 2010: What Should Be Done With the Revenues From a Carbon-Cap-and-Auction System?
Washington Post editorial 1-22-10: Sen. Murkowski’s CLEAR option on carbon regulation
Steve Hargreaves CNNMoney.com 12-30-09: Fight global warming, get $1,100 a year, webpage also includes a great interview with Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom
Green Beat blog 12-28-09: Climate bill chaos: Your guide to the two newest proposals
Ecopolitology blog 12-28-09: New Senate Climate Bill Would Send You a Monthly Check
David Morris blog on AlterNet 12-27-09: A New Outside-the-Beltway Climate Bill Deserves Support; Why Won’t Enviros Get Behind It?
Blog on the Energy Collective 12-26-09: New Senate Climate Bill Would Send You a Monthly Check
Mike Sandler on Huffington Post Green 12-14-09: The Cantwell-Collins CLEAR Act Helps Consumers, the Climate, and the Economy
Peter Barnes on Grist 12-14-09: Why Cantwell-Collins is best—and how it just might win
Grist 12-14-09: Defending the Cantwell/Collins CLEAR Act
James Boyce 12-14-09: New Deal for U.S. Climate Policy?
Sarah Van Gelder of Yes! Magazine on 12-11-09: Cap and Dividend: A Clear Winner
10-26-09 Grist: Comparing the competing flavors of the Senate climate debate including “Cantwell & Jerry’s”
10-5-09 Cantwell climate bill is simpler and more equitable Senator Maria Cantwell’s Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (CLEAR) Act of 2009, a soon-to-be-introduced Cap and Dividend bill that uses the term “Carbon Share” to describe allowances.
7-1-09 OregonLive: Editorial about ACES and Cap and Dividend
6-16-09: A more recent CBO assessment of costs in ACES.
2-25-09: Price of emissions: House bill would send taxpayers a check
Obama counts on revenue from carbon permits
In March 2009, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. introduced legislation called The Cap and Dividend Act of 2009. It would distribute at least 90 percent of the permit proceeds in the form of dividends to everyone in the U.S. with a Social Security number. The bill was proposed but never formally released, probably due to pressure from the House leadership, which supported ACES instead.
Other climate bills being considered in Congress include the Waxman-Markey bill (ACES), which narrowly passed the House, and the Boxer-Kerry bill, which is being considered in the Senate, and by Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman.
The bill that passed the House was the Waxman-Markey bill, H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which sets a carbon cap and contains multiple provisions to reduce emissions, including a renewable energy standard, fuel standards and more. Although President Obama campaigned that he would auction the permits, the House version of ACES gives away 80% to industries and utilities. For how it compares with the Van Hollen bill, here’s a brief discussion with links. An EPA analysis of the bill states that auctioned allowances with lump-sum distribution of revenues to households is the least regressive cap-and-trade policy analyzed and has been shown to be progressive in some cases. Here’s another link to the EPA analysis.
Quotes from Congress:
“Over the course of debate on climate change, many have become more and more persuaded that the main priority for allowance allocations and auctions should be to return revenue to ratepayers and consumers. Studies show that they are the ones who will ultimately see the price signal in the form of increased energy prices. The question, therefore, is ‘what is the best way to achieve that goal?’ We also need to have a better understanding of the uses of free allowances,” Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman (quoted by InsideEPA).
“If somehow the American people could trust, and that those of us involved in this legislative process could trust that not one penny at the end of the day was going to leave consumers, either going to corporate pockets or government coffers, but 100 percent of that would be returned, and we knew it was never going to be utilized as a source of funding additional sizes of government, I think it would go a long way toward mitigating some of the contentiousness over this,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) (quoted by Inside EPA).
Here’s a sample letter to send to your Senator:
Dear Senator _____, I am writing to ask you to support and co-sponsor the Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal (CLEAR) Act, recently introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME). The CLEAR Act auctions permits to fuel producers and returns 75% of the resulting revenue in checks to every American. With its “cap and dividend” approach, this bill would help the U.S. make a fair, affordable transition to a clean-energy, low-carbon economy, and avoid the pitfalls of other climate bills that pander to the coal-burning utilities and Wall Street traders.
With its “simplicity, transparency and equity,” CLEAR creates an economy-wide carbon price, is revenue-neutral to the government, and provides economic stimulus through dividends to households. I am concerned about the Kerry-Lieberman bill that contains free allowances to coal-burning utilities, questionable offsets, offshore drilling, and nuclear. Please support CLEAR instead.
Here’s another sample letter:
Dear Senator _____,
Climate change is serious and needs immediate action. However, the ACES was compromised in the House when it gave away 80% of allowances to polluting industries (including utilities) instead of auctioning 100%. I urge you to strengthen the provisions of the ACESA by:
– Auctioning 100% of the permits to polluting companies- no give aways! – Giving the majority of the revenue (at least 70%) directly to the American people (not to utilities on behalf of consumers) to help with the inevitable rise in energy prices – Eliminate or drastically reduce the use of offsets- we want real emissions reductions – Set a bolder emissions reduction target for 2020Or you can simply introduce a Senate version of the Cap and Dividend bill that Congressman Chris Van Hollen introduced in the House, perhaps similar to Sen. Cantwell’s CLEAR Act.
Here’s another sample letter:
Dear Senator Boxer,
I am very concerned that some versions of S. 1733, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, as well as the House’s HR2454, could pre-empt California’s ability to set a tighter cap on global warming emissions. Presumably, this pre-emption was a negotiated to woo reluctant Senators or lobbyists worried about a “patchwork” of conflicting regulations. But California’s exceptional status has been integral in the history of the Clean Air Act, providing other states the option of adopting stricter rules, and saving thousands of lives. In the case of global warming, California’s innovative industries could provide the technology that the world will need to attack global warming, and this innovation could be hamstrung by Federal pre-eption. Please let California’s leaders and AB32 do its job, let California adopt stricter standards.
Additionally, the design of California’s AB32 cap and trade system may return permit auction revenues collected by the state back to households. Or, the allowances could be allocated directly to Californians as a share to be sold to upstream companies, providing income to the owners of the shared Commons and economic stimulus considering our state’s 12% unemployment rate. Perhaps you can consider this Cap and Dividend or Cap and Share allocation, rather than the lobbyist-first allocation of the current Federal bills.
Here’s a sample letter to the editor of your local newspaper:
The U.S. Senate is currently considering a bill to stop climate change and send a check to every American. The Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal (CLEAR) Act, sponsored by Senators Cantwell and Collins would stimulate green jobs and technology, protect consumers, bi-pass Wall Street, and de-carbonize the economy. Perhaps best of all, the entire bill is only 39 pages long. Returning dividends to all U.S. residents from revenue generated by atmospheric pollution is the single piece of legislation that if passed in 2010 would help relieve this country’s economic and environmental woes.
– – – – – – –
Archive: From 2008:
Congressman Edward Markey’s Investing in Climate Action and Protection (iCAP) legislation auctions 94% of permits, rising to 100% by 2020. It returns over 50% of auction revenue to consumers. The good news is Rep. Markey is the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
The Lieberman-Warner bill (“The Climate Security Act”) is another example of a bill that Congress considered to cap GHG emissions. The bill was briefly debated on the Senate Floor on June 6, 2008 before it was removed from the floor by a 48-36 vote where 60 Senators were needed to continue debate and sixteen Senators did not vote. Unfortunately, the bill gives billions of dollars in emission rights to fossil fuel companies, following the poor example of Europe’s ETS. It also was opposed by many Senators for spending auction revenues on a laundry list of projects. Carbon Share could improve this bill by auctioning 100% of permits and returning dividends to consumers, or by distributing emission rights (Shares) directly to Americans. This bill or a modified version proposed by Senator Barbara Boxer may be reintroduced next year when we have a new President.
Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, offered an amendment to the Lieberman-Warner bill that would auction most carbon permits and return the proceeds to the American people. The rebates would be paid by check each year to all individuals earning less than $150,000, and all couples earning less than $300,000.
Will any Federal legislation give Americans this choice: cash dividend, tax rebate, or share?
Click here for international Carbon Share news.