A Tax By Any Other Name…

There has been an ongoing discussion about carbon tax and fee & dividend on the OB CASEJ discussion list. The acronym stands for Climate Action, Sustainability & Environmental Justice, so it comes as no surprise that most comments are in support. While many have brought up the national impact, the argument below addresses potential international consequences. It comes from Milton Takei an activist and scholar living in Eugene, Oregon:

I would like to make some comments on the need for the U.S. Congress to

put a price on carbon.  Under the Kyoto Accord, not all countries had the

same targets, with the poorer countries exempt.  In December 2011, the

poorer countries agreed to have their greenhouse gas emissions limited

under a new treaty, but the question still remains: what should be the

legally binding goals for each country?  For example, China is not as poor

as India, so the two countries should have different targets.

The international global warming negotiations seem to be deadlocked

because of the attitude of the United States, which is unwilling to make

enough concessions to India, China, and other poorer countries.  The

question is: what legally binding target would the U.S. be willing to

accept for itself?  If the U.S. Congress were to pass a carbon tax,

President Obama might have an indication that the U.S. Senate would ratify

a treaty that the poorer countries could accept, breaking the deadlock in

the negotiations.  Hence the need in the U.S. for action in the U.S.

Congress.  National regulation or action below the national level will not

provide the signal to President Obama that his hand are no longer tied.

                                          –Milton Takei

For more information on the international global warming negotiations:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/11/global-climate-change-treaty-durban

In related news, the Boston Globe recently published Sage Radachowsky’s reasons for supporting carbon tax. It  was the product of persistent submissions, a good lesson for advocates. An excerpt:

 Phil Flynn suggests that renewable energy technologies are obsolete, and that “If they can’t compete, maybe they shouldn’t” (interview with Erin Ailworth, 30 December). A carbon tax would correct the price of fossil energy to account for the social and ecological costs, and would enable renewable energy and conservation to flourish, creating millions of jobs. The reason we don’t pass a carbon tax is because it would hurt the oil and gas companies who exert far too much control over our government. Fracking is toxic to the environment, and all fossil fuels accelerate global warming. We can let the market lead innovation, and avert the fiscal cliff, with a simple carbon tax, an idea favored by economists both left and right.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/editorial/2013/01/06/carbon-tax-would-level-playing-field-for-renewable-energy/irpMZcc8urAZT5YLRp5ZcK/story.html

If you are looking for a local group working on these issues, check out the local chapter of Citizen’s Climate Lobby , check out 350MA‘s local campaign or bring up it up at the GA. You can also give a quick call to your congress people to find out where they stand on the issue.

To contact Boston CCL chapter email: ccl.boston@citizensclimatelobby.org

Click here to join the OB CASEJ mailing list:

https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/climate-action

~ Nuevaspora

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Massachusetts volunteers tell Congress to price carbon

[Submitted by Gary Rucinski, of CCL which works with individuals and elected representatives from all parts of the political spectrum to find ways of mitigating climate change. They are currently working to build support for the Save Our Climate Bill as a means of establishing a Carbon Fee and Dividend.]

Citizens Climate Lobby in D.C.

CONTACT: Gary Rucinski, gary@rucinskis.com, 617-803-8038

F O R    I M M E D I A T E    R E L E A S E

WASHINGTON, July 30 – As the worst U.S. drought in half a century grips much of the nation and experts point to climate change as a factor, volunteers from Massachusetts came to the nation’s capital last week to ask that Congress put a price on carbon that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Massachusetts residents Susan Labandibar, Gary Rucinski, Jack Thorndike, Karen van Hoek, and David Gordon Wilson joined volunteers from the U.S. and Canada attending the Third Annual Citizens Climate Lobby International Conference in Washington, D.C. They visited the offices of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation to make their case for a progressive, revenue-neutral tax on carbon. Legislation for such a tax has been introduced in the U.S. House as the Save Our Climate Act (H.R. 3242). (Massachusetts Representatives Michael Capuano, James McGovern, and John Olver are co-sponsors of HR 3242.) They thanked Rep. Capuano personally for signing on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 3242.

For Gary Rucinski, the group leader of the Boston area CCL chapter, the visits on Capitol Hill left him hopeful that the U.S. could start reducing greenhouse gas emissions before it’s too late:

“I was energized by how we doubled the number of conference attendees and meetings on the Hill compared to last year’s conference. Congressional aides listened to our position and demonstrated their respect for CCL’s work by asking detailed questions about our proposal for putting a price on carbon. They are striving to find solutions and grateful for citizen involvement.”

At a packed reception held at the end of their first lobbying day, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), co-sponsor of the Save Our Climate Act, told volunteers, “This is about future generations more than it is about us, because things are going to get worse if we don’t dramatically alter the political and legislative trends of this country.”

Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), who introduced a carbon tax bill in the previous Congress but lost his bid for re-election, spoke to an appreciative crowd about making the case for a carbon tax: “What you’re here to do is to help people in Congress to see that there are people willing to see the true costs [of fossil fuels]… The conservatives can get into this thing if we can show that this is about free enterprise and accountability. It’s about fixing market distortions so that true costs are accounted for.”

A few days before CCL’s conference, Inglis launched his Energy & Enterprise Initiative to talk about the conservative rationale for a revenue-neutral carbon tax. An introductory video on the Initiative’s home page features former Reagan economist Art Laffer.

CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds came away from the week of lobbying buoyed by the prospects for a carbon tax in the next Congress.

“We’ve had some great conversations on the Hill this week with a number of Republican offices, which makes me optimistic that we can get a bi-partisan bill introduced early in the next Congress. The big topic of the moment right now is the fiscal cliff, but the climate cliff will make that look like a picnic if we don’t put a price on carbon soon.”

www.citizensclimatelobby.org