Energy experts discuss the future of carbon tax policy design and revenue use alternatives
January 31, 2019
Washington, D.C.: Two versions of a carbon tax failed on the ballot in Washington State, but would a carbon tax have more public support with a different plan for using carbon tax revenues? OurEnergyPolicy.org’s (OEP) expert dialogue revealed a partial consensus among commenters that a carbon fee and dividend—in which tax revenues would be refunded to tax payers—would be the carbon pricing policy with the greatest likelihood to pass on the federal level.
“The public will take carbon taxes seriously when they are not used to financially enrich politically connected groups,” said Charles Forsberg, Executive Director for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and OEP expert. “America is way too cynical for any other option than a carbon tax with full rebate to the public to work.”
A carbon fee and dividend bill—The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act—was introduced in the House of Representatives in December 2018 and reintroduced on January 24, 2019, by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fl). Time will tell whether the bill will pass. A carbon fee and dividend differs from the 2018 Washington State initiative, which would have used revenuesprimarily to fund investments in clean energy and healthy forests, and the 2016 initiative, which would have used revenues to give tax relief to low-income families.
Members of OEP’s vetted expert community discussed the political palpability and viability of carbon fee and dividend, including whether a border adjustment would prevent the carbon fee from putting the United States at a comparative disadvantage globally.
OEP experts made the following points about potentially successful revenue use options and reasons why a carbon tax did not pass in Washington State:
With the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act in Congress, comments from this OEP online discussion can serve to inform journalists, legislators, and citizens regarding attitudes and perspectives within the energy community on carbon tax policy design. The entire discussion is available on the OEP website. OEP encourages a broad discussion and does not have or endorse any specific points of views or agendas.
About OurEnergyPolicy.org: OurEnergyPolicy.org is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing and facilitating substantive, responsible dialogue on energy policy issues and providing this discourse as a resource for the public, policymakers, and the media. OurEnergyPolicy.org also serves as a one-stop resource hub for all things energy policy and includes a free resource library, aggregated energy headlines, and national energy events calendar. OurEnergyPolicy.org does not advocate or endorse any specific points of views, but rather, works to encourage a broad discussion.