11/07/2011 -- Two weeks ago, U.S. Congressman Pete Stark introduced the Save Our Climate Act, H.R. 3242, that proposes levying a tax on carbon. This bill is designed to reduce national dependence on foreign oil, drive alternative energy development, mitigate the effects of climate change, and reduce our national deficit.
Congressman Stark's Carbon Tax Bill press release reads:
The Carbon Tax Center estimates that over 10 years, the Save our Climate Act would raise more than $2.6 trillion in revenue and reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent. Over several decades, the legislation will reduce the United States' carbon emissions to 80 percent below the country's emissions levels in 1990, which is the level scientists say much be achieved to stabilize our climate.
I know what you're thinking... "But carbon tax aimed at the fossil fuel industry will ultimately increase the cost of energy for the consumer and screw over the little guy!" Fear not, my logically skeptical friends, this bill proposes to distribute over $2 trillion in revenue back to consumers over 10 years in the form of annual dividends starting at $160 per person per year and rising to $1,170 per person per year in year ten.
The Save Our Climate Act has massive potential to actually make a difference towards reducing the effects of climate change and drive growth in the renewable energy industry if folks will get on board with Congressman Stark.
As evidence keeps mounting about the dangerous trajectory of human-induced climate change, it becomes clear that Earth’s natural systems are rapidly approaching tipping points for global
warming. Failure to act now will doom future generations to one cataclysm after another – shortages of food and water, displacement of millions from rising sea levels, more frequent and severe weather disasters, and the breakdown of civil society.
The deal struck at the U.N. climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, in December does not take effect until 2020. Waiting another eight years to start reducing greenhouse gas emissions may well be a death sentence for a stable climate.
The United States, the world’s largest historic source of atmospheric greenhouse gases by far, must take decisive steps now to reduce those emissions with a national policy that compels other nations to follow our lead. The most important step in such a national policy is to make polluters pay for carbon emissions in a way that will drive the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.
Such a policy will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, by providing an economic stimulus, produce the 21st Century jobs Americans need. Legislation to price carbon emissions has been introduced in the current Congress: the Save Our Climate Act of 2011, H.R. 3242. Introduced by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), this bill efficiently taxes carbon-based fuels at the first point of sale and returns the lion’s share of revenues to the public.
The tax starts at $10 per ton of carbon dioxide and increases each year by an additional $10 a ton. The Carbon Tax Center estimates such a tax will reduce U.S. emissions 25 percent by the year 2020 by erasing fossil fuels’ artificial price advantage over energy efficiency and low-carbon fuels.
By returning 80% of the revenue to the public on an equal, per household basis – the remaining 20% will be used for debt reduction – H.R. 3242 will shield households from the economic
impact of rising energy costs associated with the carbon tax while retaining the economic incentives that will drive producers and consumers away from coal, oil and gas. The clear price signal provided by the tax will move massive amounts of investment toward clean-energy technology and energy efficiency, stimulating the creation of new jobs.
This legislation also imposes border adjustments on imports from nations that do not yet have equivalent carbon pricing, thereby protecting American businesses from unfair competition.
These tariffs will create a powerful incentive for other nations to adopt their own carbon tax in order to keep revenue within their borders.
For the good of our nation and our world and in the hope that we may preserve a livable world for future generations, we the undersigned urge members of Congress to pass the Save Our Climate Act.