Carbon Tax Bill Introduced in House of Representatives

Sustainable Cities Network article (2018-12-04) reported on the introduction of a bipartisan bill in the United States House of Representatives that would set a nationwide price and refund system for carbon emissions. Many climate change advocates support a carbon tax as a market driven approach to address climate change.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018 (H.R.7173) is sponsored by Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Francis Rooney (D-FL), Charlie Christ (R-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), David Trott (R-MI) and John Delaney (D-MD). Based on the implementation of a carbon tax, the bill seeks to lower greenhouse gas emission by at least 40 percent in the first 12 years after its passage. Revenue from the tax (called “carbon dividends”) would be distributed equally to households to offset any costs they incur under the tax. Advocates argue the bill would be revenue neutral and not grow the size of government.  From the article:

“To call this legislation a breakthrough is an understatement,” said Citizens’ Climate Lobby Executive Director Mark Reynolds. “Any long-term solution needs buy-in from both Republicans and Democrats.” …
Reynolds said the new policy will create 2.1 million new jobs over the next 10 years, based on estimates from a 2014 Regional Economic Models, Inc., study on the effect of a revenue-neutral carbon price on the American economy.

The article stated that the recently issued Fourth National Climate Assessment projected more severe effects from climate change on the United States by the end of the century than previous studies, including a 10 percent reduction in the size of the national economy.

The bill is one of the most ambitious proposals to address climate change that has been considered by Congress and its chances of passage are questionable. It is possible that United States President Donald Trump would veto the bill if it did pass, based on past Trump Administration actions regarding climate change.

The Maryland Commission on Climate Change will likely consider the benefits and drawbacks of a state carbon tax as part of its 2019 deliberations.

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