General Assembly policy on Carbon Pricing

G.A. and Carbon Pricing, 101

By Bill Bray, Ron Spross, and Tomie Evans, Ruling Elders, Rev Bob Taylor, Teaching Elder (retired)–overtures advocates to the 2018 General Assembly that passed the overtures.

The General Assembly is inviting us, all 9000+ PC(USA) congregations and 1.5 million members, to a call to action.  A prayer-full calling for us to build bridges of trust with our neighbors and Congress (yes, Congress!), supporting their actions on climate.

By over 80% the full Plenary of the General Assembly voted to approve the New Covenant 08-12 [] overture and by “answering 9 with 12”, approved the Twin Cities 08-09 [] overture.

This action, like the entire agenda of the GA, started with Congregations sending prayers-as-overtures.  Climate action prayers to the 223rd General Assembly, as 10 Environmental Issues overtures, were supported by the Teaching and Ruling Elders of the sixty one Presbyteries and Synods all across the country and the world voting for approvals and concurrences, showing broad support for PC(USA) action on climate change.

The GA approval affirms and invites us to learn about an idea called the carbon dividend. They also direct the Presbytery Mission Agency to support our actions on advocacy with Congress, for the Carbon Dividend idea, and to build partnerships with organizations such as Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

We need lower-carbon choices.  All business, not just energy utilities, needs to shift. Since it’s a core business behavior to avoid costs, by adding a fee to fossil fuels at the wellhead, mine, and border, businesses will pick suppliers avoiding the cost, become more efficient, and constantly innovate to offer lower-carbon lower-cost products, energy, food, and transportation.

Setting a fee at the source by Congress assures it’s universally applied to business and consumers (businesses can’t trade for an exception), making it fair and effective.

By returning all of the fee each month to every family across the entire USA as a dividend, it is also socially just, possibly the only proposal that immediately helps families and communities. Those families with the least means, about 3/5ths, come out even or a little ahead. The dividend multiples by circulating through main street, particularly benefiting communities with limited means, often “down wind”, or most vulnerable to accelerating climate harm.

Businesses will compete to offset rising costs, and for many of us it may actually feel fairly slow. For example, in 2011 gasoline prices rose by a dollar, however, one proposal adds only nine cents (9¢) to a gallon of gas each year. Taking over 11 years for the same shift, the dividend grows each year too.

Working in British Columbia since 2008, they have a better economy and lower emissions. USA based forecasts show 50% less CO2 per year and millions more jobs after 20 years.

Border rules apply fees on fossil fuels and products until other countries price carbon. This protects our industry and compels the rest of the world to follow our lead so we can trade evenly, driving the entire world economy to lower-carbon everything.

Future posts will share at least 84 reasons why Congress is thawing too, and offer specific actions we can take together for respectful support.

More jobs. Better climate. Safer, healthier families. By investing our relentless well organized time to build relationships and support Congress, we become a force for Nature.


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