Let the demogoguery begin:
Proponents of a market-oriented plan to fight climate change by taxing greenhouse gas emissions and giving the revenue to American taxpayers are starting a campaign to run advertisements as early as this fall and introduce legislation in Congress as early as next year.
The plan’s supporters have formed a group called Americans for Carbon Dividends that will lobby for the proposal. The group plans its first event on Wednesday and includes a number of well-known members, including Trent Lott, the former Senate Republican leader from Mississippi, and Janet L. Yellen, who led the Federal Reserve under President Barack Obama.
The initiative has already won endorsements from some environmental groups, like the Nature Conservancy and Conservation International; fossil fuel giants like Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP; and major companies in renewable and nuclear energy and consumer goods.
“It’s something that may command bipartisan consensus,” Ms. Yellen said in an interview, calling the proposal “a very exciting prospect.” Taxing carbon dioxide emissions to reduce energy use, she added, is “absolutely standard textbook economics.”
The proposal would set an initial tax of $40 per ton of carbon dioxide produced and would increase the price over time. That would raise the cost of a gallon of gas by approximately 38 cents, the group says, with similar effects on household heating and other energy use. That could, in turn, encourage people and businesses to become more energy efficient and curb their use of fossil fuels.
To offset the higher prices, the tax revenue would be returned to consumers as a “carbon dividend.” The group estimates that the dividend would give a family of four about $2,000 in the first year.
The group says the plan could reduce United States emissions even further than the Obama administration pledged under the Paris climate accord.
But the leaders of the group are not holding their breath. The notion that the current fractious Congress could pass a bill based on the proposal is not within their fondest expectations. Instead, their strategy is to build public support for the plan while working toward a legislative proposal that could be introduced after the midterm elections, when a new Congress might be more friendly to environmental legislation. ...
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