As the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions grows more evident each week, Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), a US-based group, welcomed the introduction of Rep. Pete Stark’s (D-CA) Save Our Climate Act as a critical step in efforts to stop the worst effects of climate change south of the border.
“We’re running out of time to wean our nation off the fossil fuels that are heating up the planet,” said CCL’s Executive Director Mark Reynolds. “We need to put a price on carbon that shifts energy usage to clean sources, and that’s what Congressman Stark’s bill does.”
The Save Our Climate Act, H.R. 3242, would tax coal, oil and gas based on the amount of carbon dioxide these fuels would emit when burned. Starting at $10 per ton of CO2, the tax would increase by $10 each year until CO2 emissions fall to 20 percent of 1990 levels. Most of the revenue from the Save Our Climate Act – an estimated $2.6 trillion in the first 10 years – would be returned to US citizens as an annual rebate to offset higher energy costs. A portion of that revenue – $490 billion – would go toward deficit reduction.
“This is a revenue-neutral approach that Republicans should be able to embrace, as it will not increase the size of government,” said Reynolds. “What it will do is move massive amounts of investment money toward clean energy, expanding a sector of the economy that shows the most promise for producing the jobs Americans need.”
News of Stark’s legislation was warmly received in Canada. “We applaud Congressman Stark’s leadership on putting a price on carbon to transition the US to a clean energy economy,” says Cathy Orlando, Project Manager of Citizens Climate Lobby Canada. “If successful they will join Australia and British Columbia on taking effective action on climate change and economic development. It’s time that Canada’s federal government also took similar action.”
The Citizens Climate Lobby Canada chapters have had positive meetings with their Members of Parliament regarding their proposed Carbon Fee and Dividend Act, which is similar to Rep Stark’s bill. The Citizens Climate Lobby proposes placing a fee on carbon when it enters the market, which would increase annually. Revenue Canada would give 100 percent of the fee’s revenue back to Canadians to shoulder the rising cost of carbon until cleaner sources of energy become more affordable.