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Carbon Fees? You Might Be Surprised by Latest List of Supporters

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Proponents argue carbon fees incentivize fossil fuel users to transition to renewable practices and products. (AP File/Rich Pedroncelli)
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Here’s a climate quiz question: What do these influential people and organizations have in common?  Elon Musk, the National Ski Association, the League of Women Voters, Fetzer Winery, Trout Unlimited, the Carnegie Institute of Science, the World Bank, all four living former Federal Reserve chairs including Janet Yellin, the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce,  the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO and at least 3,500 economists including 28 Nobel laureates?

Answer: They all support putting a price on carbon emissions to help solve the climate change crisis.

Putting a Price on Carbon

The reason they all support putting a price on carbon is simple: If we have a national price on carbon, companies that produce or sell coal, oil or gas will be assessed a gradually rising fee for every ton of carbon pollution their product will emit. This fee will incentivize them to transition to renewable non polluting practices and products.

Opinion

Andrea Farber De Zubiria

The U.S. Conference of Mayors, a network of 1,407 mayors from cities with populations over 300,000 passed a resolution about this. The resolution “strongly urges the United States Congress to pass legislation that imposes a price on carbon emissions sufficient enough to reduce carbon emissions in line with ambitions detailed in the Paris Agreement.” The resolution cites our changing climate’s “challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.”

I feel heartsick every time I hear about extreme fires, storms, floods and the horrific damage they are wreaking on people’s lives. We all know that particles in the smoke that wafts into our Valley are damaging to our health.

Majority of Americans Want Action

Many of the same emissions that cause climate change also lead to air quality problems. The vast majority of Americans want action on climate and air pollution. But many of our leaders are too afraid to support bold legislation to help us transition away from these fuels that are heating up the earth and trashing the air we breathe.

The good news is that even without federal legislation, the US is gradually increasing its use of solar, wind, biofuels and geothermal energy. According to the US Energy Information Administration, 12% of our energy consumption was provided by renewables in 2020.

Carbon Pricing Will Spur Innovation

It is exciting and hopeful that we are increasing our use of clean energy. History shows that the more we use certain technologies, the more they improve. But experts say this isn’t happening fast enough to meet the urgent goal of lowering greenhouse gases 50% by 2030 to stabilize our climate. A huge number of economists, scientists and public policy experts say that we need carbon pricing to motivate more innovation and efficiency.

Canada has already passed this legislation. The European Union will soon start assessing a fee on products we export to them if a carbon fee is not already part of our economy. This could put American businesses at a disadvantage if our products wind up costing too much. Carbon pricing can take effect much faster than any regulations to lower emissions with minimal bureaucracy and no cost to taxpayers.

What Can ‘Ordinary People’ Do? 

Between August 11 and  August 31 we have our best opportunity ever to get carbon pricing at the federal level through the process called “budget reconciliation”.

If enough concerned citizens contact their representatives in the next few weeks, we could have a carbon price by fall and start to see carbon emissions drastically drop in a matter of months.

It takes five minutes to let your member of Congress know you want carbon pricing by contacting them using cclusa.org/house. The link will get you addresses, phone numbers and sample scripts and does not obligate you to any future actions, memberships, emails or donation requests.

Calls to Congress Needed

Last week over 20,000 people contacted their senators to ask for a price on carbon. Now Citizens’ Climate Lobby estimates we need at least 10,000 people to call and email their representative in the House to get their attention, as well. We need to do this before they look at the budget reconciliation package that the Senate will be passing on to them in a few weeks.

Whether your member of Congress is Jim Costa, David Valadao, Devin Nunes or Kevin McCarthy, reach out to them by the end of August to let them know you have had it with lack of action on climate change and want a price on carbon emissions now.

You can find more influencers and organizations that support a price on carbon here.

Andrea Farber De Zubiria is the co-leader of the Fresno Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.  Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-partisan non-profit organization that empowers ordinary people to influence Congress to address climate change with effective federal legislation. She can be reached at fresno@citizensclimatelobby.org