The 223rd General Assembly (June 2018) determined that one faithful action our Church can take in addressing climate change is to support carbon fee and dividend policies (CFD) because they offer a just and effective way forward to avert the worst of climate chaos, rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transition us to a clean energy future.
What is Carbon Fee and Dividend? How does it work?
Carbon Fee –This policy places a steadily increasing fee (tax) on every ton of carbon pollution generated from fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, at their source (mine, well, port). The fee starts low and grows steadily over time. Gradually fossil fuels become more expensive, giving a well-deserved competitive advantage to clean energy alternatives, while incentivizing businesses and consumers to make non-carbon choices.
Carbon Dividend – 100% of the carbon pollution fees collected from coal, oil and gas companies, less administration costs, are returned in equal shares as a monthly dividend to every American, helping low and middle income families deal with increased energy costs, and spurring the economy.
Provides a global solution – To protect American manufacturers and jobs, imported goods will pay a Border Adjustment based on carbon content, and goods exported from the U.S. will receive a refund on carbon fees paid. This mechanism incentivizes our trading partners to adopt similar policies, establishing American leadership for a truly global solution to climate change.
How can CFD or carbon pricing help climate change?
Effective – This policy will reduce America’s carbon emissions by 33% in 10 years. It is recommended by economists and scientists as simple, comprehensive, and effective.
Good for People – This policy should help especially low income communities who are most effected by carbon pollution. This policy will improve health and save lives by reducing pollution that Americans breathe. Additionally, the carbon dividend puts money directly into people’s pockets every month to spend as they see fit, spurring the economy and helping low and middle income Americans through the transition to a clean energy economy.
Good for the economy – This policy will create 2.1 million additional jobs over the next 10 years, thanks to growth in the clean energy economy.
Bipartisan – Republicans and Democrats are on board and working together on this solution. Republicans support a market-based solution to climate change, including leaders from the Reagan and Bush administrations all the way through millennial voters. Democrats are rallying around this as one of the most effective climate solutions available.
Fulfills our calling –This approach offers a compassionate and just way to fulfill our call to be faithful stewards of God’s creation.
What can we do as PCUSA members, congregations or judicatories?
- Learn more about CFD so you can become better advocates for it. (See citizensclimatelobby.org/carbon-fee-and-dividend)
- Urge your members of Congress to support legislation which embodies this approach, such as the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (energyinnovationact.org) which was introduced into Congress in 2018 ( and will be re-introduced in the new 116th Congress).
- Enlist others (neighbors, friends, other denominations, environmental groups, etc.) to advocate for this approach.
- View and then share this overview presentation recorded by Presbyterian ruling elder Bill Bray: https://youtu.be/x9iySAJn99A
For more information, refer to other blog posts on carbon pricing:
- JANUARY 2020: Ten Carbon Pricing Bills Now Before Congress
- Presbyterian advocacy for carbon pricing gains wide support
- In Support of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act
- The Real Deal: A Carbon Bill Arrives
- General Assembly Policy on Carbon Pricing
- New Environmental Policies Passed by the General Assembly