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Carbon plan deserves support

A bipartisan bill recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives has the potential to help the U.S. make significant strides on carbon emissions while also helping the economy.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act— sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) and Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.)—would take three main steps toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and stimulating the economy.

First, it would assess a fee on the carbon dioxide content of fuels at the source, starting at $15 per ton and increasing by $10 per ton annually.

Second, it would return the revenue as equal shares to all U.S. households.

Third, it would provide a border adjustment fee for imports from nations that don’t have a similar price on carbon.

The Rochester chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby has consistently pushed for carbon-pricing legislation such as this, citing a 2014 study by Regional Economic Models Inc. that shows that a policy like this would add 2.1 million jobs to the economy in 10 years.

“Over the years, our volunteers have lobbied, made calls, written letters and heard an awful lot of ‘Nos,’” Sarah Mittiga, group lead of the Rochester chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, said. “Our polite persistence is finally paying off. It’s exciting to see democracy in action, and to know our chapter here in Rochester is playing a part.”

The bill aims to reduce carbon emissions by at least 40 percent in 12 years.

“To call this legislation a breakthrough is an understatement,” said Mark Reynolds, Citizens’ Climate Lobby executive director. “This bill is easily the most significant congressional move on climate change since 2009. And with bipartisan sponsorship, it has a real chance at passage.”

Rochester-area businesses should get behind this legislation that would help the environment and the economy at the same time, and should contact local congressional representatives asking them to support it as well.

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