Other climate change bills, such as HR 763, have also been eclipsed by COVID-19. A carbon pricing policy promoted by the Citizens Climate Lobby had been picking up speed in recent months.
The CCL is a grassroots worldwide advocacy on climate legislation and policy. At a time when clean energy concerns are taking a backseat to the pandemic, the CCL is still calling for members to contact their Congress members to let them know that HR 763 is an important bill.
The CCL’s 2020 International Conference and Lobby Day, scheduled for June 7-9, has been canceled, but the organization is calling for everyone to participate in their virtual conference to discuss, among other things, the longstanding ramifications of coronavirus on climate change action.
Under the theme of “Heal our democracy, solve climate change,” the organization is asking people to join, organize, train, and connect with 1,500 other members to learn how to engage their congressional members and community on climate change issues.
Texas State Coordinator Susan Adams leads the Third Coast Region, including Texas and Louisiana. Under the HR 763, she says, oil companies can plan their business around carbon pricing as a mechanism to address climate change. Businesses can also keep better track of how pricing is going up and plan accordingly.
Under the bill, the carbon fee for emitting greenhouse gasses starts at $15 per metric ton and increases $10 per year.
“The price is at the barrelhead, at the point of extraction, so it’s kind of low down at the chain. It’s making it easier for them to manage,” Adams said. “It’s not being tacked on later when manufactures are making their goods.”
Eventually, the idea is that polluters will turn more and more to alternative energy sources. The goal is to reduce the nation’s emissions by at least 40 percent in the first 12 years.
The CCL is also working on municipal and community endorsements for the bill in Texas. So far, the bill has received support from the cities of Dallas and Arlington as well as endorsements from major media outlets.
Locally, the organization continues to work on building momentum, now with over 35 active chapters and 9,000 volunteers in Texas alone.
That bill has also received backing from U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar (D) from Texas’ 16th congressional district and today has 80 cosponsors in broad-spectrum support.
If passed, Adams said the revenue generated goes directly back into the pockets of Americans.
“What’s unique about CCL’s bill is that it gives a dividend check instead of the money being kept by the government to do infrastructure projects or whatever else. It is returned in a dividend check,” she said.
Dianne Anderson covers education, health, and city government stories with an eye on legislative impacts to diverse communities. She has received awards from the American Cancer Society – Inland Empire, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Over the years, she has reported for the Long Beach Leader and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and been a contributor to the Pasadena Weekly.