FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2015
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) will announce the re-introduction of his American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act (AOCFA) today at the American Enterprise Institute. In response, Carbon Tax Center director Charles Komanoff released the following statement:
“Today’s announcement by Sen. Whitehouse is the latest sign of the growing movement to tax carbon pollution in the U.S. It comes on the heels of the New York Times’ ringing endorsement of a U.S. carbon tax and two months after a Stanford poll revealed that two out of three Americans would support a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
“Notably, Sen. Whitehouse will announce the reintroduction of his economy-wide carbon tax at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute and will be joined by a leading conservative carbon tax proponent. That’s a powerful display of the broadening appeal of taxing carbon pollution.
“We applaud Sen. Whitehouse for blazing the path forward in the Senate. In particular, we support his legislation’s coverage of all major greenhouse gases and its border tax adjustment provisions.
“However, we have concerns about the size and rate of increase of the AOCFA’s proposed carbon fee. It would be pegged to the ‘Social Cost of Carbon,’ which U.S. EPA currently estimates at $42 per ton of carbon dioxide. This figure grossly understates the large-scale climate risks that we face.
“The AOCFA would start taxing carbon pollution aggressively at $42/ton, but would raise this rate far too slowly in the following years — by only around $1/ton per year. A different approach that starts off modestly but then raises the rate briskly and predictably will avoid economic disruptions and better establish incentives for major emissions cuts.
“Staving off climate disaster will be a marathon, not a sprint. We should shape our climate policies with that in mind.”
The Carbon Tax Center was launched in 2007 to give voice to Americans who believe that taxing emissions of carbon dioxide — along with commensurate taxes on methane and other greenhouse gases — is imperative to reduce global warming.