SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) visited the Community Environmental Council Hub to announce his plan to introduce The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2023.
He called it a simple market-based climate change solution at a time when people can't turn on the TV without seeing the consequences of climate change.
"We have seen deadly flooding, and worsening hurricane seasons, we have seen extreme heat starting sooner in the year and lasting longer and longer into the fall, we have seen wildfires tearing through communities and not just hear in California, but in places that had never seen the routine fire risk that we are used to here on the West Coast," said Carbajal, "And we have seen drought, storms, and more extreme weather patterns disrupting our agriculture, tourism and other sectors that specifically rely on predictable weather."
He said while the Reflation Reduction Act invests in clean energy, this bill will do more.
"I am here today with a bill that is less of a carrot and more of a stick when it comes to carbon emissions because we do not have the luxury of time when it comes to getting carbon neutral."
The bill would put a fee on per ton carbon emission will increase as time goes by in an effort to ramp up the pressure to transition to clean energy sources.
He was joined by the all volunteer Citizens' Climate Lobby that believes the bill will cut emission in half by the end of the decade.
Volunteer Dennis Thompson said they meet with legislators twice a year.
If their projections are correct Carbajal said it could make the country fully carbon neutral by 2050.
He said it would not be treated as tax collected the government coffers.
Instead the bill calls for providing rebates to the public.
"We are going to give that money directly back to you, the citizens of this country in the form of a monthly dividend," said Carbajal.
A family of four on the front lines of the climate crisis could see about $800 in the first year of the dividend.
The volunteers said they met with the congressman regularly to push the bill that is similar to legislation in a dozen other countries including Canada.
Citizens'Climate Lobby volunteer Olivia Melonas said there is still work to to do.
"Polluters can no longer use our air as trash cans," said Melonas who lives in San Diego.
She said corporations would pay $15 per ton of carbon pollution and $10 per ton in the years to follow.
Carbajal said he believes there will be bipartisan support since some of the ideas came from his Republican colleagues.
Radio host Andy Caldwell who serves as the executive director of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture & Business (COLAB) disagrees.
"Salud Carbajal's plan is to tax corporations which will increase prices to consumers and somehow take that tax and give it back to consumers as if that is going to solve any of the problems we have with higher gasoline prices," said Caldwell.
Congressman Carbajal said he plans to introduce the bill this week.
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