The Citizens’ Climate Lobby– a grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change – will speak out on Earth Day, April 22, to promote a market-based solution to global warming called Carbon Fee and Dividend. Under the group’s proposal, a fee would be charged against carbon at the point at which it enters the U.S. economy.
Indeed, the group said on April 18 that its “single mission” is to lobby all 535 members of the U.S. Congress each year for a carbon fee, according to a report by The Herald Bulletin, published out of Madison County, Indiana.
In effect, a fee would represent a disincentive to mining and down-the-line production of fossil fuel-burning power or products, while tapping the free market to urge distribution of products using environmentally-friendly processes and renewable energy, the local news outlet reported.
A national, revenue-neutral carbon fee-and-dividend system (CF&D) would place a predictable, steadily rising price on carbon, with all fees collected minus administrative costs – and then redistributed on a monthly basis to American families to offset the increase in price for products.
The fee, would compound year-over-year, beginning at $15 per ton of CO2 and rising by $10 every year, to further push industry away from fossil fuels.
CCL claims, “in just 20 years … such a system could reduce carbon emissions to 50 percent of 1990 levels while adding 2.8 million jobs to the American economy.
“A fee on carbon is the most efficient way to drive down the use of carbon-generating projects,” Ted Wolner, a Ball State University professor who leads the East-Central Indiana Chapter of CCL – one of seven in Indiana, alone – told The Herald Bulletin.
Indeed, advocates believe that, not only would a carbon fee help to offset the increase in consumer-good costs – with two-thirds of American families coming out ahead after the fee and poor and middle class Americans guaranteed to break even – it also would remind consumers to focus on renewable energy and green-sourced products.
In the first year of a carbon fee, according to the CCL, the dividend would be about $360 per household.
The group argues that such a fee would not only reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses added to the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels, but that it would also foster a new manufacturing economy – focused on the production of technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines.
A 2013 study of the plan conducted by Regional Economic Modeling., a nonpartisan research firm, projected the creation of 2.8 million new jobs by 2035 and $1.4 trillion added to the nation’s GDP.
In the East-North-Central region, which included Indiana, the local news outlet reported, the study projected a net gain of $19 billion to the regional economy and a net increase in jobs and wages.
The proposed fee is far different from current carbon-lowering initiatives such as cap-and-trade, Wolner told the newspaper, noting that cap-and-trade relies on a massive governmental regulatory body to police every business that creates carbon, as well as creating an exchange market.
Instead, the carbon fee proposed by the CCL would require a comparatively small group of regulators, because only businesses at the point of carbon generation would need oversight. The disbursement could be handled through a small group at the IRS, using the same mechanism as tax payments.
Finally, climate scientists and 30 major corporations agree a price on carbon generation is the best first step in really addressing climate change, Wolner said.