Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Discourage fossil fuel use with a carbon tax like 15 other countries and some U.S. cities.
Republicans amended the 2016 budget in the U.S. House with a ban against a carbon tax as a warning to Obama not to try and pass one. It’s completely irresponsible to block one of the most effective means of fighting climate change and, ban or no ban, we still need a carbon tax. Fortunately, the ban isn’t binding because a House budget will, eventually, have to be reconciled with a Senate budget and a lot can change during budget negotiations.
Economists of all political persuasions consider taxing carbon to be the most effective and least expensive means of lowering the level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Six of the world’s largest oil companies support a carbon tax and a 2014 poll found 60 percent approval for a carbon tax if revenue is used to research alternatives. This even includes a majority of Republicans.
Putting a much needed tax on carbon could bring in enough revenue to be helpful in lowering the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated a modest carbon tax like $20 per ton of CO2 would lower greenhouse emissions by eight percent and bring in $1.2 trillion over the next decade toward paying off the national debt.
British Columbia launched a carbon tax in 2008 that generated so much revenue, they were able to reduce income taxes, lower fossil fuel use and expand their economy faster than anywhere else in Canada. Many European countries with which the United States competes, including Germany–an export powerhouse–already have carbon taxes. Even the province of Alberta, Canada’s tar sands capital, has endorsed a carbon tax. Thus far, 15 countries have adopted a carbon tax including South Africa starting in 2016, and China has announced interest in a carbon tax.
Climate change is happening faster than anyone predicted, primarily because of carbon emissions from fossil fuels. We must put a price on carbon use. We could start by calling it a fee. All Republican disinformation campaigns center on the evil of taxes which are passed by legislating bodies.
Sign our petition to demand that President Obama work toward putting a price on carbon use as soon as possible.
Dear President Obama,
Climate change is already happening faster than anyone predicted. The National Climate Assessment identifies the primary drivers as fossil fuels and deforestation. Yet we’re not discouraging fossil fuel use by taxing carbon. Congress amended the 2016 budget with a carbon tax ban, but if you call it a fee, you can levy it by executive order.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated a modest carbon tax of $20 per ton on CO2 would bring down greenhouse emissions by eight percent while contributing $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years toward paying off the federal deficit. Carbon taxes have been adopted by 15 other countries and China has expressed its own interest. Meanwhile we don’t move forward because the GOP refuses to allow a carbon tax. So, call it a fee. What’s important is that we put a price on carbon to encourage low-carbon lifestyles.
A fee on carbon use, framed as part of a climate change solution, is a common sense, marketplace step that should be a no-brainer.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ian Britton