Brave Souls Introduce Carbon Tax Legislation

9 House Democrats introduced a bill which would create a carbon tax, the Save Our Climate Act (HR 3242).

In a time when climate change has become a "dirty" word, the bill would address the situation by taxing fossil-fuel producers and importers, while reducing the deficit by a half-trillion dollars, and steering over $2 trillion to "the 99%."  

Pete Stark (D-CA) is lead sponsor, and is joined by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Jim Moran (D-VA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Rush Holt (D-NJ), and Michael Honda (D-CA).

Under the bill, a $10 tax would be imposed on each ton of CO2 contained in a fuel. The tax is imposed at the point of manufacture or import where it’s easiest to administer and no new bureaucracy would be needed. The tax would rise each year until the US reduced emissions to 80% below 1990 levels – where the overwhelming consensus of the world’s scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. 

Over the first 10 years, it would rasie an estimated $2.6 trillion – $490 million would be applied to deficit reduction and the rest would be distributed to citizens as an annual dividend. 

In introducing the bill, Rep. Stark says:

I rise today to reintroduce the Save Our Climate Act, a bill that will create a simple tax on carbon. A carbon tax is a straightforward way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, spur development of alternative energy, slow climate change, and decrease our deficit.

The impacts of climate change become more severe with each year we fail to act.  The ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 1990.  Extreme weather events like droughts, floods, and violent storms are becoming more common as the planet gets hotter.

Our continued addiction to burning fossil fuels not only accelerates climate change it is also a drag on our economy.  We need a policy that discourages the use of fossil fuels and promotes investment in efficiency and alternative energy sources.  The simplest solution is a carbon tax. 

My legislation imposes a tax on each ton of carbon dioxide contained in a fuel.  The tax is imposed upstream, at the point of manufacture or import where it is easiest to administer.  No new bureaucracy will be needed.

The tax increases every year at a predictable rate so that the market, including investors and individuals can adjust to the tax and plan for the future.  Unlike a cap and trade system, a carbon tax does not require a complicated trading market, auctions, or an exchange to function and it is insulated from speculation and volatile swings in pricing. 

A steadily rising carbon tax will provide the certainty American businesses needs to make the long-term investments in new energy sources that will break our addiction to fossil fuels.  The United States can be the leader in green energy.  A carbon tax will help to unleash American innovation and create jobs.  That is why economists across the ideological spectrum-from Arthur Laffer and Alan Blinder on the right, to Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz on the left-have endorsed the idea.  Through border adjustments, my legislation will protect American manufacturers and ensure that imported goods from countries like China are not given an unfair advantage over American products.

At a time of deep budget cuts meant to reduce the deficit, a carbon tax can be part of the deficit solution.  My legislation will dedicate $437 billion toward deficit reduction over 10 years.  In addition, the Save Our Climate Act will protect families from increased energy prices.  Revenue generated will be distributed back to individuals as a yearly dividend to all Americans. The average dividend in the first year of the bill would be $172 per person, rising to $761 in the fifth year and $1126 in the tenth year. 

We have a moral obligation to act to prevent catastrophic climate change and preserve our planet for future generations.  The Save Our Climate Act is a first step toward meeting that obligation and creating a sensible tax code that incentivizes innovation and rewards responsibility.  I encourage all my colleagues to support it.


We are all paying a carbon tax already. Only, it’s not called a carbon tax. It’s a hidden tax:

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