Washington D.C. – Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D) has introduced the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2015 to Congress.
The bill caps carbon pollution and reduces CO2 emissions gradually but steadily, auctions carbon pollution permits to the first sellers of oil, coal, and natural gas into the U.S. market, and returns 100 percent of the auction proceeds electronically each quarter to every American with a valid Social Security number in the form of a Healthy Climate Dividend. The “cap and dividend” approach taken by this legislation will enable the United States to achieve scientifically driven reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while supporting vibrant economic growth and actually increasing incomes for an estimated 80 percent of American households. Full text of the bill can be read here.
“Two of the most pressing challenges we face as a country are the economic and health risks of climate change and the middle class squeeze, and this bill offers a way to address both,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “This approach achieves necessary greenhouse gas reductions while boosting the purchasing power of families across the country. This bill is good for the climate, good for families, and good for the economy.”
The bill is similar to a ‘Fee and Dividend’ proposal we have been covering supported by the Citizen’s Climcate Lobby. Unlike the ‘Fee and Dividend proposal, Van Hollen’s bill places a cap on the amount of carbon which can be released, and requires first-sellers of coal, oil and gas would be to buy carbon permits through an auction. But it is similar in that all of the revenue generated would be returned to households as direct, quarterly payments.
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Citizen’s Climate Lobby Communications Director/Regional Manager Steve Valk, said, “As I said, the bill has a lot going for it, including a major shout-out in a Washington Post editorial, but there’s one thing lacking right now: Republican sponsors. Without Republican support, of course, the legislation will go nowhere, as was the case for it in the previous Congress.”
“Looking on the positive side, however, what we have here is a revenue-neutral means of pricing carbon, which is what a number of leading conservatives call for,” said Valk.
The ‘Cap and Dividend proposal aims to:
“Sierra Club supports the Van Hollen bill because it puts a declining cap and a price on all US carbon pollution; two things that are essential to truly addressing climate change in the long-term. We see this as complementary to the near-term actions in the President’s Climate Action Plan which we also strongly support,” said Sierra Club Federal Campaign Director Debbie Sease.
“The basic idea that we own the sky, not Exxon, is a key part of the endgame in the climate debate. I’m glad it’s getting a Congressional hearing,” said 350.org Founder Bill McKibben.
Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08), Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-17), Congressman Gerald Connolly (VA-11), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Congressman Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Congressman Peter Welch (VT-At Large), Congressman Charles Rangel (NY-13), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-28), Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), Congressman John Conyers (MI-13), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11).