House Democrats introduce carbon pricing measure

House Democrats introduce carbon pricing measure
© Greg Nash

Four House Democrats on Thursday reintroduced legislation to establish a carbon pricing system in the U.S.

The bill would price carbon at $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent, with the price increasing $10 a year. The measure’s sponsors wrote that it would reduce carbon pollution by as much as 45 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

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“The pandemic may have temporarily interrupted the scale of global carbon emissions, but we need a robust plan that makes lasting changes to our energy sector. We're proposing a market-based solution to put a price on carbon and drive the transition to cleaner energy sources. Returning 100% of the net revenue back to American families will not only cover any increase in energy costs but also give extra support to those continuing to struggle financially from the pandemic,” Deutch said in a statement Thursday.

“Congress must move forward with this popular and effective plan to curb rising emissions and address a major contributor to climate change,” he added.

The legislation was first introduced in 2019. However, the reintroduction comes after one of the fossil fuel industry’s biggest lobbying groups, the American Petroleum Institute (API), announced its backing for carbon pricing after vocally opposing it for years. The API did not endorse a specific pricing system but said it was open to a cap-and-trade plan after spearheading lobbying against such a plan under the Obama administration.

Addressing the Biden administration’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, API President and CEO Mike Sommers said last week that “there’s no way it is feasible without technologies that aren’t currently in the marketplace today. We think that the best way to do that is through a market based carbon-pricing mechanism that isn’t picking winners and losers.”