The recent election has renewed interest in Congress for action on climate change — and none too soon, because the threat has become our reality, and the danger is outpacing our current efforts to overcome it. That’s why we are pleased with the introduction of a Senate companion to the House’s carbon fee bill “The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018 (EICDA)” by Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE).
This bill serves “to create a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund for the American people in order to encourage market-driven innovation of clean energy technologies and market efficiencies which will reduce harmful pollution and leave a healthier, more stable, and more prosperous nation for future generations.”
For far too long, the United States Congress has avoided its responsibility to address the direct threats to our children’s health through fossil fuel use and our changing climate. Currently one in three children suffer from asthma, ADHD, autism, or severe allergies with direct links to fossil fuels. Additionally, 40% of Americans still live in areas of unhealthy air and with our new hotter temperatures exacerbating ground level ozone (smog), more than 2.5 million children who suffer asthma will see their lives made worse as ozone pollution “sunburns” their lungs.
We have subsidized the fossil fuel industry since at least 1916 with Federal tax incentives; but we have also, in effect, subsidized the industry by allowing them to hide their pollution costs in the lungs, hearts, minds, and even lives of our children. It’s well past time to account for the true cost of fossil fuels and allow the energy market to act as free enterprise should.
These carbon fee bills begin to correct the market failures associated with United States energy production while simultaneously protecting the American consumer through return of 100% of the revenues. They also protect American businesses through border adjustments (tariffs) on goods or materials imported from other nations without similar market corrections.