By: Johnna Crider.
I had a short chat with Harold Hedelman, the co-founder of Business Climate Leaders (BCL), the other day. We talked about the critical need for a carbon tax and he shared some information with me. BCL is a nonpartisan group that works with businesses to advocate for carbon pricing and market-based climate solutions.
Harold explained that BCL is a lobbying group. Most of us tend to have a negative viewpoint toward lobbyists in general, but lobbyists can also be lobbying for critical legislation for the future of humanity. Dealerships lobby legislatures to make laws that benefit them financially while hurting consumers. Other corporations use this tactic to do the same. However, if you want to beat the game, you have to play it, and BCL is doing just that by working with leaders from all industries to help point our political leaders in the right direction.
The goal is to enact legislation that puts a price on carbon. Everyone on this planet would benefit from that.
“When Musk says ‘just have a carbon tax and the market will do the right thing’, he knows that EVs aren’t the only beneficiary. Changes everywhere in the economy will happen, things like investment dollars flowing away from fossil fuels and into renewables, R&D, and energy efficiency. It’s like that Cabaret song ‘money, money, money makes the world go round!’” Harold then referred to Elon Musk’s interview with Joe Rogan on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. “My top recommendation, honestly, would be just add a carbon tax,” Elon Musk said.
The Upcoming Senate Reconciliation Package Includes A Carbon Tax
For those who may not have been keeping up, the Senate will be voting on a reconciliation package soon and one of the things in that package is a proposed carbon tax that would make fossil fuel companies start paying for the pollution they profit enormously from creating. Harold told me that BCL urgently needs everyone’s help in contacting our representatives and sharing support for this. A carbon tax would specifically impose fees on businesses that emit greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide and would fall largely on the oil and gas companies.
Yahoo! Finance has reported that Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) said that there is growing bipartisan support to implement a carbon tax that would hold fossil fuel companies accountable.
You Can Help
You can take action now by sending a letter to your Representative in the House. Click here to do that. Next, you can also call them. After this, you can write and/or call your U.S. Senators. Click here to write and call them. If you want to take this further, Harold suggested asking your friends and family to do the same.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria shared why pricing carbon pollution is the simplest and most elegant way to decarbonize our global economy. He explained that at the heart of the infrastructure fight in Washington is a simple question: Should the U.S. hike taxes on corporations to raise money to fight climate change? He then went on to summarize:
“Republicans point out that whatever you tax you get less of and today’s economy needs more corporate activity not less. It’s a fair point. So then the answer, to me at least, is obvious. Let’s tax the thing that we all agree that we want less of, which is carbon dioxide emissions.
“The fundamental reason why we’re not making much headway with reducing carbon emissions is they’re everywhere. We tend to focus on electricity and transportation but those sectors account for only about half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. When we make cement, that emits carbon. Even if you have solar panels and drive an electric car, the process of making the panels and the car generate carbon. Our food production creates huge amounts of greenhouse gases.
“We could try to reduce carbon sector by sector, issue reams of regulation to mandate emissions cuts, and spend large amounts of money to prop up certain technologies. That is essentially the current approach. Clunky, selective, and subject to political swings. The government is essentially adding red tape and picking winners and losers.”
Zakaria suggested that instead of these clunky “solutions,” we should unleash the power of the market to solve the problem and stated that this is what a carbon tax would do.
“Think of it as putting a price on carbon. Making sure that all products reflect their true cost to society by charging a fee for carbon pollution.
Suddenly, every industry and business would have a powerful incentive to reduce emissions whenever they occur. And rather than the government telling them how to do it, they’d be free to figure out the best, cheapest way.” Zakaria noted that hundreds of solutions would bloom if we implemented a carbon tax.
How This Climate Bill Could Send Money To Americans, Save The Planet, And Grow Our Economy
Forbes recently published an article on how this climate bill would send checks to Americans, save the planet, and grow our economy. The author explained that the word “tax” is technically a roadblock that creates a knee-jerk reaction among Republicans and critics of taxes in general. He explained that there is a specific piece of carbon tax legislation, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA), that would actually use the funds from the carbon tax to create jobs, grow the economy, and even send monthly checks to US households.
In the next part of his video, Zakaria also mentions this dividend and breaks it down:
“The idea is to take at least some of the revenue raised by the carbon tax and give it back to people, sending out checks every few months. Remember how popular the stimulus checks were? Polls indicate two-thirds of America support the basic idea behind carbon dividends. A growing number of conservatives are getting behind this idea. It’s mostly former Republican officials, but some Republican lawmakers like Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham have expressed interest. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute now support carbon pricing as well.”
In the Forbes article, the author pointed out that economists think that this will work. In 2019, 3,567 economists — including 28 Nobel Laureate Economists, 4 former Chairs of the Federal Reserve, and 15 former Chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers — announced support for carbon fees and dividends.