What if there was a way to quickly bring down carbon dioxide emissions below Paris agreement levels while improving people’s health and the economy?
Good news: There is.
There is a way, recommended by economists both liberal and conservative, to bring down carbon emissions quickly and efficiently: put a price on carbon. A particularly well thought out version of that carbon price (details matter!) is contained within a bi-partisan bill called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (House Resolution 763). In fact, 27 Nobel Laureates in Economics, four former Federal Reserve Chairmen and over 3,000 other economists have endorsed the main features of HR 763.
If HR 763 is enacted, it is predicted to bring our emissions down lower and faster than is required by the Paris agreement. It’s market-based. It is revenue neutral so won’t grow government. It protects lower and middle income families with a dividend distributed in equal shares to all citizens. Economic modeling shows that it would have positive impacts on the economy even before accounting for costs avoided from reduced climate warming. It drives investment in alternative technologies that can then be sold to a world eager for climate solutions. It gives an incentive for carbon sequestration. It pushes the rest of the world to adopt a similar carbon price because of its border carbon adjustment on trade goods.
As you know, the news from the scientists is dire. Warming is happening faster than predicted and it’s no longer only a concern about the world that we are leaving our grandchildren, but a concern about what is happening right now and in our kids’ lifetimes. This bill would be a huge first step. There are hundreds more actions we can take to help — let’s pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend bill so we can get to work on the next step. Let’s leave our kids and grandkids a healthy climate.
Elizabeth Fadali, Ph.D. is group leader for Reno Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a group with more than 500 chapters in the U.S. and abroad. For more information: https://citizensclimatelobby.org