Carbon pollution tax has bipartisan support

we are all doomed
Ian Britton (CC BY-NC 2.0)

So what should candidates for the 2020 election be paying attention to? Polls show that climate change has jumped to near the top of voters’ concerns. All the major Democratic presidential candidates have released detailed climate action plans, and CNN recently aired a seven-hour Climate Town Hall. This increased concern matches results from a survey by LuntzGlobal conducted in May of this year:

  • By a margin of more than eight to one, American voters are more worried about climate change now than they were just one year ago.
  • With concern about climate change increasing in both parties, 60 percent of voters want Congress to take a new approach.
  • 69 percent of GOP voters are worried that their party’s stance on climate change is hurting them with young voters.
  • Four out of five of voters want Congress to put politics aside and reach a bipartisan solution
  • Seventy-five percent of voters want the government to limit carbon emissions.

We are fortunate here in Nevada to have a governor who has made climate change a priority of his administration and has already taken bold steps in that direction. Recently, he signed Nevada onto the U.S. Climate Alliance, joining 22 other states in a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change. And let’s not forget the new law that pledges Nevada to reach 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. Right now Nevada boasts approximately 32,000 jobs in renewable energy with more on the horizon as we move toward the new 50 percent standard.

Nevada is at the forefront of climate impacts. Former Senator Harry Reid of Nevada stated recently to reporters that, “The climate crisis is the greatest threat facing our planet today, and it could be the greatest crisis ever.” He noted that Las Vegas is warming faster than any U.S. city, and that wildfires were once rare but 1 million acres of Nevada land burned in the last year and climate change is blamed for clouding pristine Lake Tahoe.

Climate change is also contributing to Nevada’s health care woes. Evidence clearly shows that climate change increases lung diseases by increasing ground ozone and fine particulates that settle in the lungs and cause inflammation. Warming is extending and worsening our Nevada allergy season. Climate change and carbon pollution can also worsen heart disease, increase strokes, and some cancers. Recent evidence shows a connection between carbon pollutants and dementia, attention deficit disorder and other neurologic problems. The Desert Research Institute recently released a study that found an alarming increase in heat-related deaths, a nearly fivefold increase in Nevada, 29 to 139, from 2014 to 2017. Nevada athletes and outdoor workers could see more heat stroke. Heat can also bring in new mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika and Dengue Fever. In addition, weather disasters, like fires, floods and excessive heat have been shown to worsen mental health disorders, increase substance abuse and violence.

Grassroots activism has spurred a dramatic increase in discussion about responding to the climate crisis. Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-partisan organization with over 500 chapters all over the world, including three here in Nevada: Las Vegas, Reno, and Carson City, boasting hundreds of members from all walks of life. CCL works with elected leaders of all political persuasions in a respectful, non-confrontational way to educate them about climate change and improve the discourse in order to effect action. CCL also engages business leaders, local organizations, and other influential members of the community.

As climate driven calamities remind us of the urgency to address climate change, a consensus is emerging for a powerful solution that has support across the political spectrum: Put a robust price on carbon pollution and allocate the revenue to American households. CCL has long advocated for such a measure and now this plan exists in the House, HR 763, The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, now with 60 co-sponsors. Bipartisan and revenue-neutral, it’s good for people, and the economy. This plan has over 1,000 endorsements from economists, former chairs of the Federal Reserve, faith-based communities, environmental groups, non-profits, business leaders and more. Results of the aforementioned LuntzGlobal survey show, a Carbon Dividends Plan has majority support across party lines – including four to one support overall, two to one support from GOP voters and 75 percent support from Republicans under 40.

Nevadans should keep up the pressure on elected leaders and insist that responding to the climate crisis is part of every conversation. The more they hear from us in support of this plan, the more they’ll know we’re serious about combating climate change.

Rita Ransom
Rita Ransom is a Southern Nevada volunteer with Citizens' Climate Lobby.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s pretty clear:
    * we have a problem, and it’s caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.
    * we need to stop polluting our air ASAP
    * there are a broad range of public policy solutions — investment in R&D (like NIH does for advanced medicine); tax incentives (e.g., for buying solar panels or an electric car); regulations (Clean Air Act); and one tool that hasn’t been deployed yet — putting a PRICE on carbon pollution.

    Everyone knows that if you increase the price of something, you buy and use less of it. This legislation will establish a gradually increasing price on fossil fuels, and then rebate 100% of the net proceeds back to the people. Everyone knows that the free market will be the fastest, best, most effective way to move from carbon-based energy to renewables and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s do it! Now!

  2. Dusted off my Paul Ehrlich of Standford Population Bomb and LTG Limits to Growth (funded by Volkswagen Foundation) books, California had 20 million in 60s now 40 million Nevada 400,000 now 3 million- Allow for no new cars unless old one is recycled (fix number of registrations, same with housing, no building permits for anything unless old building is torn down. Have a $5000 dollar birth tax and triple it for every additional child. Over 2 children? $100,000 tax on every new one. One car per person and one house per person, capped at 1000 sq ft per occupant. (Sorry Obama (3 houses) and Suzy Lee (17)

    Also offer tax incentive for serialization – serialize after 2 children and receive no income tax for life. Also, ration light bulbs, 2 light bulbs per person.

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