Previous plans to cut CO2 emissions have foundered mainly on the objections that they would increase government regulation instead of bringing the “genius of the market” to bear on the problem; or that they would increase the money going to the government and thus increase its size and influence on the economy; or that they would hurt the economy and cost jobs. Amazingly, the new cap-and-dividend plan of House Resolution (HR) 5271 would avoid each of these.
This plan has two components. First, it would require corporations that sell coal, oil, or natural gas to buy the corresponding CO2 emission permits at government-run auctions, with the number of permits reduced over time. Any price increases would likely be passed on to consumers by the corporations. But . . .
Secondly, the plan would divide up the amount collected from selling the emission permits (less a very small admin fee), and pay it out in a dividend of equal size to every man, woman, and child. This means that lower-income households, who pay fewer dollars in price increases because they buy less fossil fuel, would gain, while the big consumers of fossil fuels would pay more. The break-even point is estimated to be at the 84 percentile household income of $120,000. Of course, everyone wins because the air we all breathe is cleaner, and the climate we all experience is more stable.
As corporations and consumers act in their immediate self-interest to find alternatives to the increasing costs of their fossil fuel purchases, CO2 emissions will decrease. HR 5271 would also decrease financial inequity, generate new jobs—American jobs, and be a blueprint for other countries.
Urge your Representative to co-sponsor, and to speak in public support of H.R. 5271, the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2014, a bill that has a real chance of addressing the global threat of climate disaster, which we are already beginning to feel.
202 224-3121 (Capital switchboard)
Representative (first & last name)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Photo: Gourds, Bill Carbone
To Learn more and sign a petition about Pricing Carbon visit: www.pricingcarbon.org