A price on carbon is among the most straightforward, effective, unambiguous measures the federal government can take in response to climate change. We must reduce carbon emissions now — sooner, if possible — and to do so, we need a price on carbon in the budget reconciliation package now working its way through the Senate.
I applaud President Joe Biden’s goal of reducing U.S. emissions by 50 percent by 2030, but without a price on carbon, the package will likely fall short of that critical goal. The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Oregon’s own Sen. Ron Wyden, is actively considering a price on carbon as part of the reconciliation package. Under discussion is a carbon fee that would start at $15 per ton, escalating over time, coupled with rebates to households and a border carbon adjustment. The rebate would offset the burdens of increased costs to lower-income or economically marginalized households. A border adjustment would prevent energy-intensive U.S. businesses from moving overseas to escape the carbon fee, and would encourage other countries to enact a similar carbon tax.
Wyden needs to hear from constituents and community leaders now. The next few weeks are critical for climate action, the best chance in at least a decade to enact significant emissions reduction. A robust price on carbon, coupled with household rebates and a border adjustment, can move us quickly toward significant emissions reductions. Go big or go home, right? We are home; now we need to take care of our home.