Revenue Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend: Bending the Emissions Curve by CitizensClimateLobby
Please find below the
This proposal marries high policy clarity with a history of effective climate activism.
The Judges strongly considered how these proposals can raise public awareness, influence the American climate consciousness as well as our ability to get meaningful climate legislation in America. In this regard, the Judges see novelty in Citizensâ€™ Climate Lobby as an organization, not only for its tremendous growth in its membership, but also CCLâ€™s wonderful training of its volunteers. CCL figures out a way to turn genuine environmentalist into the most authentic, open-minded climate activists with an ability to talk to anyone.
To quote one judge, â€œCCL advocates for federal carbon tax, and if anyone can get a federal carbon tax, it would be CCL.â€ Yet, collectively, the Judges are concerned about the difficulty of this approach given the current political opposition on the national level, and are not convinced that these actions will be the most effective option in this political climate. The Judges have the impression that the action plan in the proposal needs more definition to produce the intended results.
In conclusion, the Judges would like to advance this proposal as a Finalist, and believe in CCLâ€™s novel public engagement approach and its ability to deliver results.
A fee-and-dividend isn't novel. What's novel is the authentic grassroots devotion to educating Members of Congress about the plan. No environmental organization on Earth with 20x, 50x, 200x the staff of CCL has half their in-district presence in the ears of Members of Congress and their staffs. Plenty of organizations have 100,000 'volunteers' but none have thousands of well-trained, respectful, and educated volunteers who pay their own freight twice a year for Lobby Days; and non publish 3 or 5 LTEs every single day; non have unpaid grassroots members known by name in nearly every single office on the Hill.
Nevertheless, the proposal fails to cover the political economy barriers that have impeded similar proposals to move forward in the US Congress and mobilize public opinion. And these barriers are results of the concerns of intense carbon sectors and regions that have been powerful to reject the overall benefits of any strong climate policy. The paragraphs indicating how to overcame such barriers only based on tax shift benefits seems insufficient and should be re-addressed to make a difference in the next contest step..
Also, one of the judges thinks it's a mistake for CCL to focus their submission on the economics and political economy of their CF&D policy. (And if you decide to keep that angle, it's a mistake to rely to heavily on REMI. Of all the great economists out there who respect your plan (less than a tax swap, but still), none of them are comfortable with the modeling in the REMI study. Focus it on CCL the extraordinary organization run bottom-up by the most devoted carbon-pricing advocates on earth. Focus on some element of what you do amazingly well, and look for a way to leverage that in a project (preferably one that could be started with the $10k you could win here). CCL is not the best policy shop in the country (and even if it were, good policy does not an Overton Window make) but you are the best...define that; lean into it; find the next step and explain how it matters to the prospects of pricing carbon in the United States and around the world.
Oct 21, 2017
To the Judges,
Thank you very much for your valuable feedback. We’re delighted to be held in such high esteem, and we’ll do our best to respond.
Peter Joseph, Noel Smythe, Robert Archer
Nov 4, 2017
To the Judges,
We have responded to both elements of your comments by addressing issues of political economy (in the Actions section) and describing more deeply what makes Citizens' Climate Lobby such an effective and dynamic grassroots organization (in the Who section.) We've also taken into consideration the reservations expressed about the REMI model and have substituted that of the Carbon Tax Center using our parameters for tax baseline and ramp up (in the Emissions Reduction section.) We've also placed more emphasis on the U.S. Treasury OTA analysis.
With yesterday's publication of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, clearly our task is even more urgent. Today's disturbing report on why the assessment is unlikely to change minds highlights why our approach seems like one offering hope: a revenue neutral, fully refunded carbon fee, dividend and border duty may arouse the least resistance from those who fear that the "cure is worse than the disease," namely, "big government" intrusion into their lives. Ours is not a big government solution but rather a market-based one. With groups like The Climate Leadership Council paving the way for Republicans, and Senators Whitehouse and Schatz coming from the Democrats, we hope that CCL's proposal can occupy a middle ground attractive to all sides, including the environmental justice movement.
Addressing climate change can only be accomplished with approaches that strive for immunity in the culture wars pervading every other social issue in America. Transpartisanship has been our goal. The organization, its management, membership and its proposal strive be as politically neutral as possible. This is the best way to move forward with all deliberate speed given the balance of power in D.C.
The valuable prize -- both the funds and the recognition -- will augment our very modest DC presence in assisting our burgeoning membership to get a bill introduced into Congress, whether this session of the next. In addition to being polite, CCL is relentless.
Peter G. Joseph, Noel Smythe, Robert Archer
Dec 23, 2017
Responses to Judges' comments posted 21 Dec:
Comment: "The idea of emission tax, as the key carbon pricing instrument, is not innovative and has been proposed, and often rejected, elsewhere. I am not fully convinced either that the political economy strategies designed by the authors may overcome the political opposition. Nevertheless, we believe that the authentic grassroots devotion to educating Members of Congress about the plan is highly valuable. We would like to advance this proposal as a Finalist."
Response: Thank you for recognizing CCL's incredible growth and development, all of which centers on our core proposal.
What's innovative about CCL's strategy is that it is revenue neutral and fully refunded to impacted people. Mistrust of the political process can be avoided with proper design and education. People will accept it as long as they're made whole. Long term viability is essential.
Saying an emissions tax "isn't innovative, has been proposed elsewhere and often rejected" misses the key characteristic of ours: it's systemic on the three fuel sources and impartial, unlike the case almost everywhere else where carbon pricing has been applied. By partial we mean: applied to an energy sub-sector (electricity sector or gas sector); end use sub-sector (transportation/gasoline) or a sub-national region (New England RGGI; British Columbia; California; and many others).
"I am not fully convinced either that the political economy strategies designed by the authors may overcome the political opposition."
Response: Neither are we. Given today's politics, survival is uncertain. But this contest is about best practices for carbon pricing that could overcome the opposition, as it must or we fail. Despite inevitable resistance, our strategy has already mobilized both grassroots and grasstops support and given thousands of supporters some hope that we can harness forces greater than the sum of its parts -- the power of money and markets -- to help us save ourselves. Nothing else seems to be working at scale.
Thank you, and holiday wishes,
Peter Joseph, Noel Smyth, Robert Archer