In response to Democratic Senators’ March 10, 2014, all night session to stir up climate change action, CAAV’s Legislation and Election committee prepared the following letter to Senator Tim Kaine. It was displayed and available for signatures by the attendees of CAAV’s March 18 letter writing workshop with Pete Bsumek. Find Senator Kaine’s presentation to the Senate Climate Action Task Force’s overnight meeting here.
Senator Tim Kaine
388 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington , D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Kaine:
We listened carefully and were encouraged by your remarks at the recent all-night Senate event on March 10. Your understanding of climate issues and energy challenges was correct and to the point. You stated there is no conflict between the economy and the environment and that, in fact, the path to the new economy lies in environmental innovation. Win! Win! We agree!
There is another important arrow in our quiver in the fight against climate change and that is putting a price on carbon. Experts agree that it is the most cost effective and efficient way to reduce carbon emissions. The carbon price discussion draft released in March of 2013 by Waxman, Whitehouse, Blumenauer and Schatz provides an excellent starting point but needs strengthening.
1. The tax or fee should be applied upstream on carbon-based fuels at the first point of sale. Sale of permits should not be allowed because that leaves open the possibility of switching to a cap and trade system, which creates complexity and non-transparency.
2. The carbon tax legislation must include border adjustment tariffs to prevent American businesses from being placed at a competitive disadvantage. Countries without similar carbon prices would have a tariff imposed, along with refunds to U.S. businesses exporting to those countries, in order to create a level playing field. Also this would help encourage the carbon pricing to spread world-wide.
3. The tax should start at $35 per ton and increase at an annual rate of 8% per year. (The original numbers put forward by the task force were too weak).
4. All revenue generated from the tax should be divided equally among individuals in the U.S. and returned as a monthly or annual payment. This protects low and middle income consumers and makes the bill truly revenue neutral. (There are many other ideas out there on this point including a portion going to R and D and subsidies for renewables).
5. There must be bipartisan support!
We look to you and Senator Warner to provide leadership not only for Virginia but for the entire Nation on this climate crisis. Thank you for stepping out and into the light last week and becoming a “climate hero”. We’re right here behind you, supporting you in any way we can with the political will for a livable world.
For the CAAV Steering Committee and the Citizens signing the following page,
Leslie Grady Jr, Ph.D.
Chairman CAAV Steering Committee