WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.) and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Cal.) today introduced legislation to address climate change while paying a monthly dividend to American families, rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, investing in research and development, and providing transition assistance to workers and communities.
The Climate Action Rebate Act places an increasing price on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, designed to drive down pollution and encourage market-driven innovation in clean energy technologies.
“Climate change poses an existential threat to our economy, our environment, and our national security,” said Senator Coons. “To address this threat, we need an innovative strategy that can reduce emissions and generate economic growth, not hinder it. I’m proud that this legislation will create a cleaner environment, while investing revenue directly into workers, families, and communities – helping to spur innovation, create new jobs, and ease the transition to a cleaner energy future. I am hopeful that we will continue to have bipartisan conversations about addressing this issue.”
“Americans want more options to purchase clean, affordable energy. By placing a price on carbon, our bill encourages energy companies to take climate change seriously and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. It also provides families with a monthly dividend to offset price increases as we transition to cleaner alternatives,” said Senator Feinstein. This is a commonsense approach to cut carbon emissions by 100 percent by 2050, and I’m proud to join with Senator Coons and Representative Panetta to introduce it.”
“Climate change is a severe and serious threat to our coastal communities, agricultural economies, public health, and national security. It’s beyond time for our government to do its part to respond to this crisis by reducing carbon emissions and promoting a financially feasible transition to a clean energy economy,” said Congressman Panetta. “The Climate Action Rebate Act will allow us to set and meet long-term goals to combat climate change while investing in infrastructure, inventing efficient green technologies, furthering sustainable agriculture, and advancing American families and communities.”
Leading economists agree that placing a price on carbon is the most effective and efficient policy to reduce emissions and address climate change. The Climate Action Rebate Act is designed to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 55 percent over the first 10 years, while achieving additional reductions through forward-looking investments in cleaner infrastructure and energy research and development.
The majority of revenues received from the legislation will be returned directly to the American people in the form of a monthly dividend to households with incomes below $150,000, protecting energy consumers and low- and middle-income Americans. The remainder of the revenue will be directed toward programs that support climate-resilient infrastructure, energy innovation, and assistance for vulnerable workers and communities.
The Climate Action Rebate Act is supported by a wide range of groups including Ceres, the Environmental Defense Fund, American Council on Renewable Energy, DuPont, PG&E, Exelon, and the National Wildlife Federation.
A one-pager on the bill is available here.
A section-by-section is available here.
Support for the Climate Action Rebate Act:
“We applaud Sen. Coons, Sen. Feinstein, and Rep. Panetta for their thoughtful leadership on common-sense solutions to climate change,” said Anne Kelly, Vice President of Government Relations at Ceres. “Investors and companies across all sectors of the economy recognize the need for ambitious, market-based policies to drive down emissions. A meaningful and well-designed price on carbon is an essential element of an overall policy response from Congress. The Climate Action Rebate Act shows a real understanding of the need to decarbonize our economy by midcentury to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Its emphasis on returning most of the money raised to all Americans and investing in infrastructure and communities is a balanced approach that deserves serious consideration in Congress.”
“Every day we see new examples of the serious damage that climate change is doing across the country, and new evidence that we have to move quickly to protect Americans families and communities,” said Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President of Political Affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund. “Sadly, we are also seeing the continuing disregard the President and his Administration have for the current and future health of Americans. Fortunately, we’re seeing renewed momentum to find climate change solutions – on Capitol Hill and around the country. We appreciate the leadership of Senators Coons and Feinstein on this critical issue.”
“We congratulate Senator Coons, Senator Feinstein and Representative Panetta on the introduction of The Climate Action Rebate Act,” said Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). “By ensuring power prices reflect the true social and environmental costs of greenhouse gas pollution, this legislation would go a long way toward leveling the playing field for renewable energy in the electricity marketplace. ACORE welcomes the opportunity to work with Senator Coons, Senator Feinstein, Representative Panetta and others in Congress as the Climate Action Rebate Act advances through the legislative process.”
“DuPont fully supports the development of federal policy on climate change,” said Marc Doyle, Chief Executive Officer for DuPont. “At DuPont, our science and innovation are inextricably linked with sustainability practices that deliver specialized materials that contribute to a safer, healthier, more sustainable world. We believe strong, consistent policy measures and a cohesive regulatory environment are needed to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and foster innovation, investment and economic growth. Sen. Coons’ introduction of the Climate Action Rebate Act is an important step forward in the climate policy debate.”
“The Friends Committee on National Legislation applauds the introduction of the Senator Coons’ Climate Action Rebate Act. Congress has a moral obligation to advance bipartisan climate solutions. We appreciate the thoughtful approach with which this legislation was crafted, and are grateful that it prioritizes low and middle-income families while protecting vulnerable communities and workers,” explained Emily Wirzba, FCNL’s Sustainable Energy and Environment Legislative Manager. “We look forward to advancing carbon pricing legislation as one serious tool Congress can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in climate-resilient infrastructure, finance energy innovation, and secure transition assistance for those most impacted.”
“Senators Coons’ and Feinstein’s and Representative Panetta’s legislation to create a national system of emissions pricing is an important step to drive clean energy innovation,” said ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson. “The bill establishes a strong linkage between the “pull” exerted on innovation by putting a price on carbon emissions and the “push” required to improve clean energy technologies by dedicating part of the revenue raised to federal energy innovation programs.”
"Putting a price on dirty fossil fuels is essential to protecting all Americans from toxic air pollution and the growing threat of climate-related disasters. This bill promotes health equity by investing in resilient health care infrastructure, ensuring hospitals in every community are prepared for the impacts of climate change and ready to serve their communities,” said Gary Cohen, President and Co-Founder, Health Care Without Harm.
“Clean Air Task Force applauds Senator Coons for introducing the Climate Action Rebate Act,” said Armond Cohen, Executive Director of Clean Air Task Force. “In order to decarbonize our global energy system, the US must lead in setting reduction targets that will get us to zero carbon emissions and in developing and deploying the technologies that will form the new system. If enacted, the Climate Action Rebate Act will help prompt innovation by funding technology development and provide the certainty investors need to drive more private capital into zero carbon technologies.”
“As the nation’s largest producer of emissions-free energy, Exelon has long supported action on climate change because we firmly believe it is essential to protect the well-being of our customers and all Americans," said Kathleen Barron, Exelon Corporation’s Senior Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy. "A carbon dividends policy that returns proceeds to consumers will unleash innovation and investment in new and existing technologies and put us on course to reduce emissions in the fastest and most economical way possible, while also protecting American jobs and the security of our energy supply.”
“Meeting the challenge of climate change while providing affordable energy for all customers is central to PG&E’s mission,” said John Simon, Executive Vice President, Law, Strategy and Policy, PG&E Corporation. “PG&E is a proud partner with California in its leadership and pursuit of aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals, proving that we can put an economy-wide, well-designed price on carbon in place and grow the economy at the same time. Yet California represents just 1 percent of global emissions, making a comprehensive federal solution necessary to mitigate the severity of climate change and its impacts, and drive innovation and investment in new technologies. To that end, PG&E applauds the leadership of Senator Feinstein, Senator Coons and Representative Panetta on the important issue of climate change through the introduction of the “Climate Action Rebate Act of 2019.” We appreciate their efforts and look forward to our continued engagement on policies that reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions in the most cost-effective, efficient way possible, while recognizing the valuable contributions and lessons learned in California.”
“Addressing the climate crisis and the increasingly devastating fires, floods, storms and heatwaves it fuels will require ambitious and creative solutions,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Senators Coons and Feinstein’s new Climate Action Rebate Act is an innovative, market-based and equitable approach to reducing carbon emissions. The bill supports the revitalization of frontline communities and incentivizes the technologies and strategies necessary in all sectors to comprehensively address climate change. We encourage the Senate to begin debating bills like the Climate Action Rebate Act as part of a comprehensive effort to reduce emissions and bolster resilience to stave off escalating health, safety, and security climate impacts.”