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Yesterday, I introduced the idea of carbon pricing AKA carbon tax solution proposed in the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Today, I am going to talk about the pros and cons of the carbon dividend as well as another climate legislative solution that could just be better.
The Pros and Cons of Carbon Dividend
Now, the general consensus between economists is that giving taxpayers their money is a good thing (it’s social justice). It’ll spur the economy because people will use it on fun things like a $7 pumpkin spice chai almond latte or a ceramic Belgian waffle maker. But what if I told you that social justice doesn’t mean climate justice?
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EI+CD Act) simply puts a cost on carbon emissions and pays that back to taxpayers. It is a market solution that indirectly addresses climate change and does not offer any strict regulations to limit emissions. That could mean that instead of waning off fossil fuels, corporations could just continue using them while making their products more expensive in order to cover the taxes that they have to pay. Maybe that’s why Exxon Mobil and the like are so supportive of carbon pricing.
So how do we enact stronger restrictions on fossil fuel emissions?
The OFF Act
Cue, the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act AKA OFF Act. The OFF Act provides a direct restriction on carbon emissions, promotes zero emission transportation and renewable energy, and bans fracking. This Act has an actionable and direct carbon plan unlike the EI + CD Act.
Take a look at its transportation plan:
By 2027: (1) 80% of electricity sold must be generated from clean energy resources
(2) 80% of new vehicle sales from manufacturers must be sales of zero-emission vehicles
(3) 80% of train rail lines and train engines must be electrified.
By 2035: (1) 100% of electricity must be generated from clean energy resources
(2) 100% of vehicle sales from manufacturers must be zero-emission vehicles
(3) 100% of train rail lines and train engines must be electrified.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Now, I know that I advocated for EI + CD Act and the CCL so allow me to clarify my stance. I believe that we, as a carbon emitting society, should be reimbursed the social cost of carbon emissions BUT I more strongly believe that there needs to be stronger regulations on carbon emissions. Personally, I would like to see an Act that combines the social justice of the EI+CD Act with the climate solutions of the OFF Act. It would be the avocado toast of climate legislation.