Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Don Beyer introduced the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act. This 'cap and dividend' approach is a simple, fair, and effective plan to address the dangers of climate change. It would put more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans, increasing their spending power and growing our entire economy. The introduction of the legislation came days after President Donald Trump gave an interview which again revealed his anti-science agenda and ignorance of climate science.
'Climate change is a clear and present danger, but we can confront that danger in a way that presents new economic opportunities. While the Trump Administration has abdicated American leadership on this critical issue, Congress must fight back,' said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Climate Task Force. 'This legislation puts a price on carbon pollution and returns the proceeds directly to the American people at the same time it accelerates the growth of good paying jobs in clean technologies. It is a win-win-win, boosting middle class pocketbooks, growing good paying jobs, and reducing our carbon footprint.'
'Our bill would put a price on carbon and money into Americans' pockets. The country deserves strong leadership that actually solves problems, rather than Donald Trump's approach of denying that this existential threat to the planet even exists. Our ambitious, bicameral legislation is designed to have broad appeal across the political spectrum, and present real solutions to climate change,' said Congressman Don Beyer, Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and co-Chair of the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus.
The Healthy Climate and Family Security Act caps carbon pollution and reduces CO2 emissions gradually but steadily. It 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 in the form of a Healthy Climate Dividend. A University of Massachusetts Amherst study found a 'cap and divided' approach would mean more than 80 percent of families would see more money in their pockets, even before taking into account the economic benefits of preventing the costly impacts of climate change.
'Hands down, the Van Hollen 'cap and dividend' bill is the strongest strategy to reduce climate pollution ever introduced in Congress. This policy gets the job done in a way that's simple, increases family budgets, and is utterly fair to all Americans,' said Mike Tidwell, Executive Director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund.
Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), said, 'LCV applauds Senator Van Hollen and Representative Beyer for their leadership with this legislation. Putting a price on carbon and transitioning to clean energy will create jobs, protect our health, and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. More members of Congress should follow their lead and work to address the climate crisis instead of doubling down on Trump's pro-polluter agenda that guts our most basic public health protections. LCV is committed to working with our climate champions like Senator Van Hollen and Representative Beyer to address climate change.'
'EDF Action applauds Senator Van Hollen and Representative Beyer for their continuing efforts to address the dangers of climate change. The Van Hollen-Beyer legislation is a serious proposal to reduce climate pollution, protect our children's future, and boost job-creating clean energy solutions,' said Environmental Defense Fund Action President Joe Bonfiglio.
The dividend approach has received bipartisan support. Last year, a group of Republican leaders met with top White House officials to make the case for a similar approach to combat climate change that returns the proceeds to the American people but through a carbon tax and dividend. The Washington Post called this 'cap and dividend' proposal 'elegant and effective' for its simple and market-based approach.