Cap and dividend is a simple, fair, and built-to-last policy solution that will reduce the carbon and other heat-trapping emissions now harming our climate while boosting the income of most American families. It caps fossil fuels, requires energy companies to purchase pollution permits at auction, and returns all the auction revenue in equal amounts to every U.S. resident with a valid Social Security number.
On February 24th, 2015, Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen introduced the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2015. The plan has four simple tenants:
SET A CAP ON THE FOSSIL FUEL POLLUTION HARMING OUR PLANET
By setting a steadily declining cap on the total amount of U.S. carbon pollution that can be released into the atmosphere, we will join efforts worldwide to reduce heat-trapping emissions in enough time to prevent catastrophic global warming impacts.
MAKE THE POLLUTERS—COAL, OIL AND GAS COMPANIES—PAY
Any company that extracts new fossil fuels from the ground or imports them into the U.S. must buy a permit at a government-organized auction for every ton of CO2 those fossil fuels will emit into the atmosphere. In this way, companies that bring new fossil fuels into the economy are held responsible for the pollution they trigger.
REBATE 100% OF THE MONEY RAISED TO U.S. RESIDENTS
All of the money raised will be returned in equal amounts—through a quarterly “dividend”—to every U.S. resident with a valid Social Security number.
WE ACHIEVE A HEALTHY CLIMATE AND GREATER ECONOMIC SECURITY FOR FAMILIES
By putting a price on the fossil fuels responsible for harming the planet, we will help unleash the clean energy solutions needed to save it. Our families benefit from a healthier environment, and the quarterly rebate ensures the great majority of American families are better off in the process.
For more information on this newly introduced bill, check out: http://climateandprosperity.org/
Why cap and dividend will work
Cap and dividend is a simple and fair means of reducing carbon emissions. The Cap: Big polluters bid on a limited number of permits to purchase fuel that will cause CO2 emissions. For example, the amount of coal a coal company could sell to utilities would be purchased annually, and that amount would decrease as earth’s atmosphere approached science-based carbon cap targets. The Dividend: 100% of the money raised from these auctions is returned directly to taxpayers. Each citizen would receive an equal quarterly refund – a “dividend” – to cover likely price increases in utility and gas expenses. With an initial auction price of $10/ton of CO2, a median family of four would receive a net benefit of about $260 per year. All lower and middle-income Americans will see a net increase in their annual income. And those who use less fossil fuel energy will benefit even more, further incentivizing a decreased reliance on dirty energy.
Why it will last
Cap and dividend is a sustainable long-term strategy for reducing CO2 emissions, because taxpayers are highly likely to support a policy that will help them cope with higher energy prices during the economy’s transition to clean, renewable energy. Many consumer, environmental and social justice organizations support this approach because it is straightforward, effective and fair.
Tell Congress: Act on climate by passing cap and dividend! Click here to sign.
To get involved email Mike Tidwell, Director, at MTidwell@chesapeakeclimate.org.
- Congressman Chris Van Hollen introduces the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2015.
- New York Times op-ed by Professor James Boyce, “The Carbon Dividend,” July 30, 2014.
- Read CCAN’s cap and dividend policy updates
- Healthy Climate and Family Security Act bill overview
- Read: Congressman Van Hollen’s infographic on the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act