As our nation responds to the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, a well-designed climate policy can strengthen America’s recovery and improve its strategic position in the world. Our bipartisan carbon-dividend solution – backed by a broad coalition of supporters – is ideally suited for this moment.
It will be tough enough to reverse today’s economic crisis and alleviate the misery many Americans are experiencing without adding expensive or ill-conceived climate policies. An effective policy must enhance – not hamper – a domestic economy currently being savaged by the pandemic. It should also promote the competitiveness of American firms, compel China and India to do their fair share, and position the United States to win the clean energy race.
Our solution to this critical challenge is a revenue-neutral national carbon fee that cuts U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2035 and returns all the revenues raised directly to all Americans.
The best way to level the playing field and monetize America’s carbon advantage is to impose carbon tariffs on imports from countries without a similar climate program, all as part of a comprehensive U.S. climate strategy. Such a policy could help the United States reclaim its historic position at the head of the global table, thereby advancing our economic and geopolitical interests at the same time.
Convincing other leading emitters such as China and India to effectively reduce their carbon emissions is a difficult chore. The proposed tariffs, however, would compel China and India to either follow suit or face economic penalties.
In addition to hastening economic recovery, our plan provides a commonsense way forward that addresses America’s toughest challenge – the political dysfunction ripping our country apart. Sadly, during this time of national calamity – when domestic cohesion is critically important – the partisan gap seems to be growing even wider.
The plan we propose is not a political panacea. But it is the only approach supported by Democrats, Republicans, environmentalists, and industrialists who rarely agree on anything today. It is the perfect pro-growth COVID-era climate solution.