4 STEPS TO SOLVING CLIMATE CHANGE
A GRADUALLY RISING CARBON FEE
Charge fossil fuel companies a fee for their carbon emissions. This will cut U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2035.
Economists agree that an escalating carbon fee offers the most cost-effective climate policy solution, sending a powerful price signal to steer businesses and consumers towards a low-carbon future. Accordingly, the first pillar of our bipartisan plan is an economy-wide fee on CO2 emissions starting at $40 a ton (2017$) and increasing every year at 5% above inflation. If implemented in 2021, this will cut U.S. CO2 emissions in half by 2035 (as compared to 2005) and far exceed the U.S. Paris commitment. To ensure these targets are met, an Emissions Assurance Mechanism will temporarily increase the fee faster if key reduction benchmarks are not achieved.
CARBON DIVIDENDS FOR ALL AMERICANS
Give all the money directly back to the American people through quarterly checks. A family of four will receive about $2,000 per year.
All net proceeds from the carbon fee will be returned to the American people on an equal and quarterly basis. A family of four will receive approximately $2,000 in carbon dividend payments in the first year. This amount will grow as the carbon fee increases, creating a positive feedback loop: the more the climate is protected, the greater the dividend payments to all Americans. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the vast majority of American families will receive more in carbon dividends than they pay in increased energy costs. The popularity of dividends will help ensure the longevity of a bipartisan grand bargain based on these pillars.
SIMPLIFIED REGULATIONS FOR BUSINESSES
Remove unnecessary carbon regulations so businesses can innovate and invest in a clean energy future.
The third pillar is the streamlining of regulations that are no longer necessary upon the enactment of a rising carbon fee. In the majority of cases where a carbon fee offers a more cost-effective solution, the fee will replace regulations. All current and future federal stationary source carbon regulations, for example, would be displaced or preempted. This regulatory simplification will be contingent on the continued presence of an ambitious carbon fee. Trading regulations for a carbon price will promote economic growth and offer companies the certainty and flexibility they need to innovate and make long-term investments in a low-carbon future.
COMPEL OTHER COUNTRIES TO DO THEIR PART
Compel other countries such as China and India to reduce emissions by charging a fee on the carbon content of imported products.
Carbon-intensive exports to countries without comparable carbon pricing systems will receive rebates for carbon fees paid, while carbon-intensive imports from such countries will face fees on the carbon content of their products. A well-designed system of border carbon adjustments will enhance the competitiveness of American-based firms that are more energy-efficient than their foreign competitors, while preventing carbon leakage and free-riding by other nations. This will put America in the driver’s seat of global climate policy and encourage other large emitters – such as China and India – to follow America’s lead and adopt carbon pricing of their own.