Legislators Introduce the First Two-Year Bipartite Carbon Tax Bill

A A small group of legislators from the Democratic and Republican Chamber of Deputies presented the first bipartite carbon tax law on Tuesday night for nearly a decade to combat climate change.

Florida Representative Ted Deutch, Democratic Co-Chair of the Bipartite Climate Solutions Focus Group, unveiled the bill with other members of the group, Francis Rooney representatives, R-Fla., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa ., Charlie Crist, D-Fla., And John Delaney, D, Md.

"We are taking a giant leap in showing our colleagues and the country that there is a bipartite solution to climate change that addresses the risks to our health, our environment and our economy and sets a price on pollution to end our Carbon dependency, "said Deutch reporters on a press call.

Despite its low chances of passage, the new bill represents a growing willingness by some Republicans to deal with global warming and risk the anger of many conservatives who regard any form of carbon pricing as an increase in tax.

This is the second Republican Bill on carbon tax this year, after Climate Solutions GOP Group Co-Chair Carlos Curbelo in Florida introduced national pricing legislation in September. carbon without the help of the Democratic Party.

Many economists believe that a tax on carbon dioxide emissions is the most cost-effective way to combat climate change because it increases the price of carbon-intensive products depending on the damage that's occurring. they cause society (so that consumers consume less) and encourages producers to opt for cleaner alternatives if it costs less than paying the tax.

The new bipartite bill is designed as a testing ground for a carbon tax and dividend model that allocates all tax revenue equally in the form of a monthly rebate to households. Americans, thus protecting them from higher energy costs.

The bill authors say that low- and middle-income households would receive more rebates than taxes, while higher-income households would pay more than they received.

Free market groups have advocated a similar approach in recent months, with the support of some oil and gas companies, considering it as the most realistic way for Republicans to engage, as it is revenue-neutral in preventing the government spend the proceeds of the tax. By contrast, Curbelo's bill would spend money, primarily to improve US infrastructure.

"This bipartisan bill shows that ambitious climate plans must not grow the government," said Joseph Majkut, director of climate policy at the Niskanen Center, a think tank on the free market. Washington Examiner.

The new bill would impose a tax of $ 15 per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2019, a relatively low starting figure. But the price would rise by $ 10 a year, at a rapid pace, to almost $ 100 per tonne by 2030, or potentially higher if the emissions targets set in the bill are not met. .

It taxes the carbon tax mainly to fossil fuel producers at the "upstream" level of the economy, meaning that coal is taxed at the mine, natural gas at the processing plant and oil at the refinery. The legislation exempts agricultural fuels.

It also creates a cross-border carbon adjustment, forcing exporting countries to pay fees on carbon-emitting products arriving in the United States, so as not to undermine the competitiveness of US industries.

Like the Curbelo bill, the new proposal restricts the government's ability to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, which would duplicate carbon tax.

Noah Kaufman, an economist at Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy, released a report Tuesday night that higher carbon tax rates in the new bipartite proposal would lead to greater carbon emissions reductions. and increased use of solar, wind, and nuclear energy. – virtually eliminate coal from the electrical system by 2030.

The proponents say the legislation would cut US carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 from 2015 and by 80 to 90 percent by 2050, well above the target. set by the Obama administration under the Paris climate deal that President Trump had rejected.

Kaufman predicts that the new legislation, like that of Curbelo, would cause little damage to the entire economy, slightly reducing GDP by less than 1%.

"If you are looking for a policy that will undoubtedly be positive for the US economy, you are putting in place, every year, a standard that no reasonable policy will respect," he said at the conference. Washington Examiner.

However, this measure does not take into account the health or economic benefits associated with reducing air pollution and limiting climate change.

"If you change the tax code, you will have an economic impact," said Majkut. "But because climate change risks are really important and compelling, it is good to justify that the benefits outweigh the costs, albeit modest but significant."

Despite the inclusion of Republicans and their influence, it is unlikely that the new bill or the legislation on carbon tax can be adopted by Congress in 2019.

Some conservatives who support the fight against climate change would prefer a different, slower approach, in which policymakers would continue to offer incentives to invest in clean energy and fund research and deployment of new technologies.

"We have already seen a carbon tax and carbon caps and trade, and these are not politically viable at the moment," said Heather Reams, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a conservative group. . Examiner from Washington. "Maybe we do not have to pursue all the enchilada right now. We start gradually and must realize where we are. "

But recent reports from the United Nations and the federal government say policymakers around the world need to set a global policy, such as a carbon tax, to avoid the damaging consequences of climate change.

"If we do not change course by 2030, we avoid avoiding climate change," Deutch said.

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