Marin Chapter Newsletter
April 4, 2021

CCL exists to create the political will for climate solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power. -- Mission Statement

It's Baack!
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act Reintroduced
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) reintroduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act on April 1 with 28 Democratic cosponsors. The new bill, H.R. 2307, places a rising fee on carbon pollution that will get America to net zero emissions by 2050. Revenue from the fee is distributed evenly to all Americans as monthly payments. The controversial regulatory "pause" is gone at this time.

The last version of the bill amassed 85 cosponsors by the end of the 116th Congress and the new version arrives at a critical time, with Congress in the process of crafting a package of solutions likely to be considered this summer, and President Biden proposing his own.

A show of support for the Deutch bill and similar legislation will play a key role in determining whether carbon pricing, considered the most effective tool for reducing carbon emissions, is included in those solutions.

Here's the 30 minute CCL supporter call discussing this milestone.

We encourage Rep. Huffman to consider joining his 29 colleagues in supporting this critical bill.

Of course, we understand that "it's complicated":

And here's the WSJ criticizing Biden for not embracing a carbon tax.
Go figure...

Carbon Tax Sidelined in Biden’s Push on Climate

"There is no more effective way for President Biden to meet his aggressive climate goals than a carbon tax. The timing seems ripe: his Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, has been a prominent advocate. Big business has flipped from opponent to proponent. Republican opposition is no longer monolithic.

But a carbon tax lacks support where it matters most: with Mr. Biden and the Democratic base. Progressive Democrats claim a carbon tax and its close cousin, cap-and-trade, are unfair to the poor and racial minorities. And a carbon tax appears to conflict with Mr. Biden’s promise not to raise taxes on any household earning less than $400,000 a year.

So as Mr. Biden prepares a regulatory and infrastructure package aimed at driving net greenhouse gas emissions to zero in electricity by 2035 and the entire economy by 2050, he is fighting with one hand tied behind his back.

A carbon price incentivizes consumers, producers and investors to substitute low- or no-carbon energy technology for fossil fuels more smoothly and cheaply than subsidies and rules. This has long been self-evident to economists, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council, a bipartisan group that has put forward a detailed plan for a carbon tax starting at $43 per ton with proceeds rebated to households as a “carbon dividend.”

Here's CCL's analysis:

1. There is strong support for carbon pricing both in Congress and in the business community, as evidenced by the reintroduction of the Energy Innovation Act on April 1.

2. There is support in the Biden administration for carbon pricing, but they are focusing first on jobs and investment.

3. The media narrative is that carbon pricing is being passed over for spending and/or a Clean Electricity Standard. Recall that the media narrative early in the 2020 election cycle was that Biden was finished.

4. Now that Rep. Deutch's bill has been reintroduced, we need to lobby hard to get MOC's (Members of Congress) to voice their support. The next 6-9 months will be critical.

5. CCL members are encouraged to reach out directly to the Biden team. (See April actions.) We are not worried that his initial proposal doesn't include a carbon price, as this is the beginning of a process.

Better understanding of some Progressives' resistance to carbon fee and dividend,
from CCL's Progressive Outreach Action Team Leader,

1. "Most moderate Democrats support a price on carbon (e.g., statement by 101-member New Democrat Coalition).

2. 35% of the Progressive Caucus endorsed last year's HR 763. Although a number of Progressive Democrats didn't support a regulatory "pause," that feature is absent from Deutch's reintroduced bill.

3. Many Progressives don't understand the progressive effect of the dividend:

On the face of it, a carbon tax is regressive and hurts low-income families, and a dividend providing the same amount to all citizens, rich or poor, seems unfair, as it doesn't favor low-income families. In reality, because the carbon footprint of low-income families is so much lower than that of high income families (who buy more "stuff", where most of one's embedded carbon footprint resides), their increased costs will go up by much less than the dividend, actually providing a substantial benefit to low-income families. The lowest income families will receive an average dividend that is 50% more than the amount their purchases will rise due to higher energy prices. That's progressive.

We have repeatedly said that low- and middle-income families won't be hurt by the carbon fee because of the dividend, but we've failed to educate most Progressives as to how much it will help them. By year three, the extra spending money will be around $1300 - $1400 and by year five over $2000. While getting an extra $240 in year one ($20/mo.) seems insignificant, as will be the low carbon fee, an extra $1400 in year five is significant for lower-income people trying to pay their bills."

We need to get this message out to Progressive MOC's.

-- from Bob Hendricks, Progressive Outreach Action Team leader, Texas

How carbon fee and dividend addresses
Environmental Justice

Jonathan Marshall
Marin CCL, former economics editor, S.F. Chronicle

As stated above, there's obvious confusion about the impact of carbon fee with the dividend on social justice issues. This 13 minute presentation demonstrates how carbon fee and dividend provides not just an economically efficient and effective solution, but one which is also equitable.
Recent Support for Carbon Pricing

Compiled by Jonathan Marshall

[Those paying close attention have noticed that carbon fee and dividend is taking a beating in certain circles, an indication that it's being taken seriously. However, reports of its demise are greatly exaggerated. Here's some of the evidence.]

Washington Post (3/21/2021): “market-based incentives should be part of any climate legislation, for reasons of policy and politics alike. Democrats need more than their side to get a comprehensive bill. They need 10 Republican votes to reach 60 in the Senate. The only other option is using reconciliation, a parliamentary maneuver that allows budget-related bills to pass the Senate by a simple majority. But climate mandates would not qualify for reconciliation.”

Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) (2/23/2021): “I'm very open to a carbon tax, carbon dividend, where there's a tax on oil companies and coal companies and so forth,” Romney said during a virtual event with The New York Times. “And the funds that are raised then go to individual taxpayers so they can meet the costs of the higher price of energy.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) (October 2020).

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (2/3/2021): In a major report titled Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System, the Academies’ expert panel “landed on a major economic lever to make the transition to net zero . . . an escalating federal carbon tax that starts by imposing a $40 tax on every ton of carbon emissions this year. It would raise an estimated $2 trillion by 2030 to provide revenues to pay for the policy moves and rebates to help disadvantaged groups from being overburdened by the tax. . . . [T]he report said that an economy-wide price on carbon ‘would unlock innovation in every corner of the economy and send appropriate signals to encourage a cost effective route to net zero.’”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce (1/19/2021): “Supports a market-based approach to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions reductions across the U.S. economy. . . Clearly, there is consensus favoring a market-based approach, as opposed to a command-and-control regulatory approach. That is clearly the preferable path.”

Electric Power Supply Association (2/3/2021): “In support of President Biden's goal of slowing global warming, the EPSA has released policy objectives focusing on eliminating subsidies for legacy assets, promoting carbon pricing, adopting economy-wide electrification and establishing an impartial clean energy standard. . . .a carbon price should be substantial – on the order of $40/ton, escalating over time, with rebates to those who cannot afford the extra cost.”

American Petroleum Institute (3/2/2021): “The risks of climate change are real. Market-based policies can foster meaningful emissions reductions across the economy at the lowest societal cost. An example can be carbon pricing—balancing reducing GHGs with flexibility and pacing to keep energy affordable.”

Treasury Secretary and former Fed Chair Janet Yellen (1/22/2021): “I am fully supportive of effective carbon pricing and I know that the President is as well. We cannot solve the climate crisis without effective carbon pricing.”

Business Roundtable (Addressing Climate Change, September 2020): “Business Roundtable supports a market-based emissions reduction strategy that includes a price on carbon where it is environmentally and economically effective and administratively feasible . . . This approach would reduce the administrative complexity and uncertainty associated with a regulatory approach to limiting emissions and help ensure that U.S. companies remain competitive. It would also send an important market signal that would lead to greater efficiency, technological innovation, and deployment of the low-, no- and negative-GHG emissions technologies that will be necessary for reducing GHG emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050.”

Senate bills supporting carbon fee and dividend

America’s Clean Future Fund Act - Bill (2021)
Sponsor: Dick Durbin
Fee: $25 + $10/year. 
Dividends: 75% to individuals, plus payments for carbon capture and storage, and Climate Change Finance Corp to fund clean energy, climate resilience, and environmental justice.

American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act – S. 1128) // Fact Sheet (2020)
Sponsors: Sheldon Whitehouse, Brian Schatz, Martin Heinrich, Kirsten Gillibrand
Fee: $52 + 6%/year + inflation. 
Dividends: Tax credits, social security payments, state block grants

Climate Action Rebate Act (S. 2284) // Fact Sheet (2020)
Sponsors: Coons/Feinstein 
Fee: $15 + $15/year + inflation. 
Dividends: 70% to individuals (phasing out at high incomes), 20% infrastructure, 5% R&D,
5% transitional assistance.

Nine Ways Biden’s $2 Trillion Plan Will Tackle Climate Change

Although President Biden’s proposal does not initially propose a carbon tax, it does include at least $650 billion in spending over 10 years on a U.S. clean energy transition...about seven times the largest previous injection of federal money into clean energy -- the $90 billion included in the economic stimulus package approved in the first year of President Barack Obama’s administration. 

Here they are:

1. The largest single climate-related provision in the plan is $213 billion to build, modernize and weatherize affordable housing;

2. 174 billion to accelerate a transition to electric vehicles in the United States through consumer incentives like tax credits to purchasers of EVs, the building of a network of 500,000 EV charging stations, and direct federal spending;

3.100 billion for power grid modernization;

4.Historic $85 billion investment in modernizing public transit; 

5.35 billion investment in clean technology research and development;

6.16 billion employing union oil and gas workers to cap abandoned oil and gas wells and clean up mines; 

7.Broad increases in corporate taxes, but not a carbon tax, though the idea has recently won support in the oil industry. Neither Republicans nor Democrats on Capitol Hill have expressed enthusiasm for the idea; 

8.Establish a federal Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard

9.10 billion in a new “Civilian Climate Corps."
Canada Supreme Court Rules Federal Carbon Tax Is Constitutional
In rejecting a request from some provinces to strike down national carbon pricing, the court declared that the measure meets an important national need.

"This matter is critical to our response to an existential threat to human life in Canada and around the world,” the court wrote in a 6-to-3 decision. “Climate change is real. It is caused by greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities and it poses a grave threat to humanity’s future.”

The concept of carbon pricing has been widely endorsed by economists, and according to the World Bank, some form of it has been carried out or is in development in 64 countries, either through direct taxes on fossil fuels or through cap-and-trade programs.

Individual Canadians receive carbon tax rebates from the government to compensate for the surcharge on fuel. A review by Parliament’s budget watchdog found that most households are paid more in rebates than they spend on carbon taxes. Households can increase that bonus by further cutting emissions by using more efficient or electric vehicles or improving their heating systems."

Carbon tax less costly than other ways to cut CO2 emissions

"A carbon tax would be more economically efficient for curbing greenhouse gas emissions from electricity by 2040 than renewable portfolio standards or production tax credits, according to a recent report. 

The analysis published last month by Ohio State University researchers highlights the contrast between what would be least costly from an economic standpoint and how politicians have favored piecemeal steps to address climate change.

So far, the United States has shied away from a carbon tax. Under a tax, the market price of fossil fuel generation would increase to reflect the health, climate and other social impacts that polluters currently shift to the public. 

Instead, the federal government has used production tax credits. And various states have renewable portfolio standards.

The researchers compared the costs of those three potential policy solutions for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation by 80% by 2040. Getting to an energy mix that would provide that result would cost less with a carbon tax than either renewable portfolio standards or production tax credits...

...the policy mechanisms that we are willing to use are relatively expensive, compared to the carbon tax that politicians have so far been unwilling to impose...

A well-calculated carbon tax would make the costs of fossil fuel use obvious and apparent, by making energy prices reflect the emissions’ cost to society. In contrast, the higher costs of production tax credits and renewable portfolio standards are not as directly apparent.

Carbon pricing is the most cost-effective...efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An advantage of harmonized carbon taxes is that they could offset what might otherwise be regressive impacts because far more people are in lower tax brackets.

Canada began revenue-neutral carbon pricing in 2019.
Early projections from the Canadian government showed that 70% of people would get more back from the carbon tax than the extra costs paid for electricity, with savings to increase over time as the carbon tax goes up. So most people are actually getting richer thanks to the carbon tax.

More businesses appear to be coming around to the concept of a carbon tax as well. In September the Business Roundtable announced support for carbon pricing. And earlier this month, a draft statement from the American Petroleum Institute suggested the organization might “support economy-wide carbon pricing as the primary government climate policy instrument to reduce CO2 emissions while helping keep energy affordable, instead of mandates or prescriptive regulatory action.”

[Understandably, politicians fear the public's resistance by making costs apparent rather than obscure. That's where the household dividend comes to the rescue, and our job is to make sure the electorate knows that.]
Marin CCL membership meeting
Saturday, April 10, 0845 AM (Note earlier time)

Hear what our chapter is up to and how you can participate. We'll discuss how the reintroduction of the Energy Innovation Act, along with President Biden's infrastructure proposal, are shaping the political conversation and how we all can participate.
RSVP here for the Zoom link.

Followed by the National call at 10 AM
Faith and Climate Action
Details here

Tuesday, April 13, 10AM-Noon PT
Business Climate Leaders Presents:
This free two hour conference is aimed at educating and motivating CCL members' small and medium sized businesses to advocate for Carbon Fee and Dividend. Register here.
This session of Congress will see the introduction of more carbon pricing bills, and we want to be ready to garner local business leaders' support. Our Business Outreach Committee wants to assist Marin business leaders in focusing their political influence towards passing specific carbon legislation such as that unanimously recommended by our Board of Supervisors, the California Legislature and the newly reintroduced Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

If you would like to participate, introduce us to owners, CEOs or other business executives who want to learn more, please contact Debbie Patrick. Thanks!
Youth Action Team News

Harita Kalvai, Marin CCL's Youth Action Team

The purpose of our youth action team is to educate teenagers on climate legislation and make environmental changes in our communities. We believe the best way to connect youth to policy topics is through art, and film is the best mode of communication when it comes to showcasing hard topics. Currently, we are working on a special project which we’ll be talking about during the membership meeting on April 13.

We are also hoping to gain new members and will host an online mixer on Saturday, April 17th. We'll outline how CCL functions, the work the chapter has already done, and future projects we will be working on. Adults are welcome as well! :)

Introducing the new CCL Action Tracker
Better days: Bay Area CCL members with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe (front row, blue blazer, big smile) when she was awarded the 2018 Stephen Schneider Award by the Commonwealth Club, before social distancing became de rigeur.

While sheltering in place, have you been active? (Yes, it's still possible.) If you've (safely) done something that qualifies as a CCL activity -- attending virtual meetings, letters to newspapers, interactions with the media, the public, contact with elected representatives, working with other members, etc., please log these activities. You can see and be inspired by what others are doing. These important stats continue to be very impressive for grant writing and meetings with members of Congress. Please visit the new Action Tracker page on Community.
This is not a bar code.
It's a human fingerprint.
Here's a graphic representation of atmospheric temperatures from 1979 (left) to 2018. The lower atmosphere (troposphere) is warming while the upper atmosphere (stratosphere) is cooling – a clear fingerprint of the enhanced greenhouse effect from human emissions of carbon dioxide.

Why is this happening? More infrared radiation emitted at the Earth's surface is being absorbed by increasing greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere, so the upper atmosphere cools. Note the very warm years (intense reds) in the upper atmosphere due to the 1982-83 El Chichón and 1991-92 Pinatubo volcanic eruptions, when aerosols cooled the troposphere and warmed the stratosphere. It's just physics.

Hit the brakes!
All measures are necessary to throttle GHG emissions, starting with getting the economy on our side with an effective carbon price. It shouldn't be free to pollute, but it is. That's the biggest fossil fuel subsidy of all time.
Vivaldi fans, are you worried about our four seasons after a very dry winter and spring?
From Down Under, which has seen more than its share of climate disasters recently,
excerpts of Vivaldi's The (Uncertain) Four Seasons adjusted for a dystopian future
Stay safe, everyone!
This year will be better.
Please contribute to Marin CCL
Help cover printing and other expenses for tabling, outreach, youth participation, etc.
Send your (non-tax deductible) check to:
Marin Citizens' Climate Lobby
95 Central Avenue, Sausalito, CA 94965
If everyone contributed 10 bucks we'd be more than fine!

If you know someone who would like to be added to this distribution list, please send their email after obtaining their permission, or better yet, have them join CCL.
Prepared by Peter G. Joseph, M.D. 
Apologies for cross postings