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Pitch

A gradually increasing tax on carbon-based fuels (at the mine, well, or port of entry); all revenues returned to households as a dividend.


Description

Summary

This legislation puts a fee on the amount of carbon dioxide in fossil fuels.  This fee is assessed at the source of the fuel: at the mine, well, or port of entry. The fee starts low and increases annually in a predictable manner until green energy is competitive with fossil fuel.  The fee is collected and 100 percent reimbursed to all citizens, shielding them from the financial impact of the transition to a clean energy economy. Because the fee (and the price of fossil fuel) goes up predictably over time, it sends a clear price signal to begin using fossil fuels more efficiently or replace them with green energy.  Investment flows to green technologies and the rising cost of fossil fuels increases the demand for these products, making them even less expensive as they reach mass production.  This clear easy to understand price signal (increasing fossil fuel costs and decreasing green technology costs) drive the transition to a green economy.  This transition will reduce greenhouse gases stabilizing, our climate and the health of our oceans.

By giving all of the carbon fee back to the citizens — the end users — consumers will be able to pay the higher prices of goods and services caused by the higher price of fossil fuels. This allows businesses to pass along the increased cost and keep market share.  Each year the carbon fee goes up, the dividend goes up as well.  Everyone is on a level playing field for the first few years.  But if businesses do not become more energy efficient and start converting to green energy they will become less competitive and lose market share.  These market forces will drive innovations in green technology, creating new business opportunities to develop, produce, install and service these products. This will create millions of new jobs here in America.  American companies will be able to sell these green technologies globally and American companies will become more efficient with the energy they use, making them more competitive worldwide.


What actions do you propose?


Who will take these actions?

Any citizen who envisions the possiblity of a clean energy economy beyond fossil fuels.


What challenges will be faced in implementing this proposal and how will they be overcome?


How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?


What are other key benefits?

By establishing a border tax on embodied carbon footprint of imports, other countries will be motivated to enact their own tax on carbon-based fuels. Rather than pay another country's tax, revenues generated will stay within any country that enacts such a tax.


What are the proposal’s costs?

Time, commitment and travel costs


Time line

As soon as possible. Start today.


Related proposals


References

The Case for a Carbon Tax: Getting Past Our Hang-ups to Effective Climate Policy by Dr. Shi-Ling Hsu PhD JD