Is there a bipartisan solution to pollution?

Each political party has a stake in the environment because, without natural resources, we have no inputs for production, no jobs, and ultimately no consumers. The hard part is finding agreement about how to protect the environment, but at least one policy is getting bipartisan support.

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 763, would place a fee on the carbon released in the combustion of fossil fuels. A carbon fee would encourage energy conservation and clean energy production. But why might both sides agree on such a policy?

H.R. 763’s win-win recipe combines emissions reductions with fewer regulations and more help for the poor. Specifically, a pause on new EPA regulations on CO2 would accompany the fee to incentivize clean energy. The poor, along with everyone else who uses less than the average amount of fossil fuels, would receive a net gain from the policy because the government would divide the revenue from the fee evenly among all Americans. That right–you would receive a monthly check to spend as you please.

Suppose the average American pays $25 in fees per month, which are built into the price of energy. Average fossil fuel users will feel no pain because they will pay $25 per month and subsequently receive a check for $25 each month. Anyone using less than the average amount of fossil fuel energy will pay less than $25 in fees per month and enjoy a net gain from their $25 monthly check. Relatively heavy users of fossil fuels will pay more than $25 in monthly fees, but only be out the difference between their payment and the $25 they receive back.

The policy would create jobs in the clean energy industries, which already outnumber jobs in the fossil fuel industries. Purchases spurred by the monthly checks would create jobs. And the incentives of H.R. 763 would take us on a path toward cleaner air and water, better health, and less climate change.

The broad appeal of these benefits has already garnered bipartisan support. If this policy addresses issues you care about, read more about it here.

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