Support HR 763 which institutes “carbon-fee-and-dividend”

Mike Shatzkin
6 min readMar 10, 2019

By Mike Shatzkin

There is currently a bill before the US Congress that could be the most significant climate legislation ever passed. It institutes a concept called “carbon-fee-and-dividend”, which is not really a “new” idea but which is still a pretty obscure one. It shouldn’t be. Anybody worried about climate change should familiarize themselves with the idea, which might be the single most powerful policy tool we can create to decarbonize our energy systems.

What is “carbon-fee-and-dividend”?

It is a protocol to “put a price on carbon” and refund the money raised in equal shares to individuals.

The “fee” is a price paid by the provider of raw material that will be burned and create CO2 (meaning coal, oil, or gas) when that material enters the economy: at the mine, wellhead, or port. That becomes part of the cost of the raw material and raises the price of the finished product (“fuel”) that results from it. The “dividend” is paid to the public: a pro-rata share of one hundred percent of the proceeds from the fees. So the costs are paid by all consumers of fossil fuel energy: governments, businesses, and people. But the dividends are divided equally among people. That creates a very progressive result.

Who has proposed it and how do proposals for it differ from each other?

The longest continuing advocates of the carbon-fee-and-dividend idea (and the people who named it “carbon fee and dividend” — hey: it might have been called “carbon tax and refund”) have been the non-partisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which has been pushing their version of this idea for over a decade.

In February of 2017, an avowedly Republican group, fronted by former GOP Cabinet Secretaries James Baker and George Schultz and called Climate Leadership Council, put forward their version of the idea.

Shortly thereafter, Americans for Carbon Dividends were formed under the bipartisan leadership of ex-Senators Breaux (D) and Lott (R).

Finally, a bill was put before Congress proposing a pure CFD in the waning lame duck days of the previous Congress. Now, the current Congress has HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, proposed by Representative Ted Deutch FL-22 (and a host of co-sponsors which, as of this writing, includes one Republican: Francis Rooney FL-19). This is the first time that a full…

--

--

Mike Shatzkin

Climate change and where books meet digital; Manhattan.Practical liberal.Married the right girl;Sports obsessed,mostly baseball.American history.Rock and roll.