Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

Apr 5, 2019

It was with grateful appreciation that I learned that the U.S. House of Representatives had added to their docket H.R. Bill 763; The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Bill 763 offers for the newly elected Congress a replacement for the earlier bill first offered for the previous congress — a “revenue neutral” legislative initiative for addressing the human causes for global climate change. There are two notable features about this bill.

First, it is a “fee” rather than a tax. The fee is paid by the producers of those products which generate the CO2 emissions which cause most of the climate damage. What makes this a fee rather than a tax is that all of the money raised is by law required to be refunded as a dividend in equal shares to each U.S. citizen. The government doesn’t decide how to spend the money – you do. Clearly, the fee will raise prices of CO2 generating products. However, economists estimate that two-thirds of the U.S. population will receive dividends larger than their added costs. Who typically uses the most CO2 generating products? Those who can afford them. This proposal collects from the wasteful to distribute it equally to all. The riots in France over a proposed carbon tax are an example of “taxed enough already – TEA applied to Climate Change.” I agree with the feeling that taxes are high, and raising them to pay for a climate change solution is unwarranted. We’re already paying public money to repair climate change damage from storms and wildfires. Why pay triple; for the cause, the consequence and the solution?

Second, no money is withdrawn from the economy. How would you spend your dividend? You’d spend it on things important to you; such as, education, health care, housing and basic living expenses. These industries don’t generate much CO2, and would flourish. Those industries which do generate CO2 would be incentivized for efficiency, productivity, innovation, investment and substitution, as would consumers also. A border adjustment fee for imports would “plug loopholes” plus incentivize global application of this same approach.

The Yale Center for Environmental Communication polling data, Aug 7, 2018, indicates that 77 percent of Americans and 76 percent of Ohioans support regulation of CO2 as a pollutant. The economic impact of this proposal is projected by economists to be both economically positive and job creating. So, I encourage you to write your congressional representatives asking for their support of H.R. 763.

Dave Ballantyne

Member of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action