Price on Carbon

CCL supports an economy-wide carbon tax, where the money is given to people, typically referred to as a carbon fee and dividend or carbon tax and dividend. With a carbon tax, a fee is applied wherever fossil fuels enter the economy. This price flows through the economy, incentivizing businesses and people to switch to clean energy. Fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal all contain carbon. When burned, they release potent greenhouse gases (GHG) and carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Putting a price on carbon involves placing a fee on these fossil fuels and carbon pollution. This fee is based on the metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) the fuel would generate, and it would be assessed at the earliest point of sale into the economy—as close as possible to the well, mine, or port. MIT has produced a short explainer and podcast episode on the subject.

It can also be used to refer to a “cap and trade” system. A cap and trade works by setting a “cap,” (maximum for total emissions) and then selling and trading permits for the right to pollute up to that cap. It requires bureaucracy to implement and run, and it creates price volatility that is difficult for businesses. CCL does not support a cap and trade system. A carbon tax is far simpler, with less bureaucracy, lower costs, and more predictability.

Our chapter works to build support for carbon pricing by:

  • Contacting members of Congress to let them know there is support for this policy, and inviting others to do the same
  • Educating members of our community about carbon pricing through presentations to local groups and by talking to attendees at tabling events
  • Speaking with community leaders such as local elected officials, faith leaders, business owners and asking for their support