by Joy Danzig
A bill called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividends Act is a bold, forward-looking initiative. It would reduce greenhouse gases and pay all US households a monthly dividend.
There is increasing urgency for nations to curtail greenhouse gases, primarily carbon, and increase reforestation, among other courses of action, to diminish and capture carbon in the atmosphere.
We in the U.S. have a reason for optimism in the form of a bill, the Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividends Act, H.R. 763, introduced by Rep. Theodore E. Deutch (D-Florida) in the House of Representatives on Jan. 24. It has growing bipartisan support in Congress, including sponsorship by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier of our local district. The latest action in the House was a referral on Feb. 12 to the Subcommittee on Energy.
Progress of this bill may be monitored online at EnergyInnovationAct.org.
The Citizens Climate Lobby
A key organization lending its support to this bill is the Citizens Climate Lobby (www.citizensclimate lobby.org), an international grassroots environmental group that trains and supports volunteers in building relationships with their elected representatives in order to influence climate policy. It has a local chapter in Contra Costa County.
Write or call the offices of Senators Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris asking for their support of this bill. Another action is to ask friends and family, especially those in states other than California, to contact their senators and congressional representatives requesting their support.
The CCL website offers clear information about the bill and concrete steps to take in its support.
Benefits of the Energy Innovations and Carbon Dividends Act
What exactly does H.R. 763 do? This bill imposes a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal or any other product derived from those fuels emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
It puts a price of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions, starting in 2019. Importantly, the fee increases by $10 per year and then to $15 per year if the previous year’s emissions goals are not reached. It includes exemptions for fuels used for agricultural or non-emitting purposes, exemptions for fuels used by the Armed Forces and rebates for facilities that capture and sequester carbon dioxide.
It also includes border adjustment provisions requiring certain fees or refunds for carbon-intensive products that are imported or exported. The fee is collected at the refinery, coal mine or natural gas transmission system level.
Everyone Would Receive a Carbon Dividend
H.R. 763 requires 100% of the revenue go into a “Carbon Dividend Trust Fund” maintained in the U.S. Treasury. Consequently, the Treasury would then distribute the revenue as a dividend to all U.S. households. Each adult with a Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification Number would receive a pro-rata share. Each child would receive a half-share. The dividends are not taxable as income and won’t factor into the determination of other federal assistance programs, especially helpful for families and individuals receiving such assistance.
One analysis of carbon emissions indicates that, without the passage of H.R. 763, emissions by 2035 would be over 5,000 million metric tons. Were the bill to take effect, the emissions by 2035 would be well under 3,000 million metric tons.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividends Act would likely reduce carbon emissions by at least 40% in twelve (12) years. Additionally, studies show the Act’s passage would add 2.1 million jobs to the American economy. The time for action is now.
Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, May 15, 2019. Email Joy Danzig at firstname.lastname@example.org.