Sanders Introduces Carbon Tax Legislation

Source: By Rachel Gantz, OPIS • Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders introduced legislation last week that aims to cut carbon emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 through a handful of measures, including putting a price on carbon.

“What the scientists tell us is that we have a relatively short window of opportunity to bring about the fundamental changes that we need in our global energy system to transform our energy system,” Sanders said when introducing the bill on Thursday. “It is absolutely vital that we do what many economists tell us we must, and that is put a price on carbon. It is the simplest and most direct way to make the kind of cuts in carbon pollution that we have got to make if we are going to successfully transition away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” he said.

S. 2399, the Climate Protection and Justice Act, would establish an upstream carbon pollution fee for coal, petroleum and natural gas produced in or imported into the U.S. The fee would start at $15 in 2017, rising to $73 in 2035, and grows at a 5% rate thereafter. Before 2035, the fee shall not apply to any material that is used as a feedstock whose carbon content is expected to not result in carbon dioxide emissions.

Proceeds from the carbon pollution fee would be given to households that make less than $100,000 a year to offset any rate hikes made by the energy industry.

The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.