Citizens’ Climate Lobby calls for strongest possible US climate policy

Ahead of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow next month, Citizens’ Climate Lobby has sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., calling for the U.S. to enact the strongest possible climate policy. Serious, comprehensive climate policy would position the U.S. to play a strong, leading role at the COP26 in Glasgow, where future geopolitical weight is tied to a nation’s ability to counter climate disruption.

CCL volunteers gather for a photo before a day of scheduled, policy-focused meetings with their elected representatives. Photo from June 2018.

The letter was also copied to:

  • The Honorable John F. Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

  • Gina McCarthy, White House National Climate Advisor

  • Brian Deese, White House Director of the National Economic Council

  • Louisa Terrell, Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs

  • Steve Ricchetti, Counselor to the President

In a press release, CCL notes that:

Adding a carbon tax in the policy mix ensures America will still meet the critical goal of 50% reductions by 2030.

The letter reminds President Biden and top official that:

A strong price on carbon pollution and methane pollution would allow us to decarbonize our economy well within the timeframe specified in your updated Paris Agreement target when combined with the full package of climate initiatives in the drafted legislation.

The letter also notes that a price on pollution has overwhelming public support:

As of June 2020, a large majority — 65% — of Americans supported greater federal climate action, including 73% supporting a corporate tax on carbon emissions. In the months since your term began, a sustained force of tens of thousands of volunteers has shown up to reaffirm their desire for ambitious climate action.

Because President Biden committed to not increase taxes on households earning less than $400,000 per year, a strong and effective fee paid by polluters could have most revenue returned to households. This would ensure the price on pollution can rise steadily and drive rapid decarbonization of the whole economy, while not undermining household incomes or purchasing power.

Read the full letter

We need unprecedented climate ambition.

At COP26, carbon pricing policies—including carbon taxes, emissions trading, carbon border adjustment mechanisms, tax incentives, and other modes of support—will be discussed in connection with Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Article 6 deals with “internationally transferred mitigation outcomes” (ITMO or ETS), and “non-market approaches” to overall mitigation of global emissions (OMGE), under the heading of Cooperative Implementation.

What is often lost in the political contest of wills over climate-related international cooperation is the fact that cooperation means it is possible to achieve more than the net result of distinct, isolated, and unaligned efforts. The climate crisis recognizes no borders, so solutions cannot be achieved through zero-sum us-versus-them thinking.

A strong and effective price on pollution would create conditions for unquestioned leverage in future trade negotiations, in support of clean innovation, public health, and the reduction of risk of catastrophic shock events. At the very root of the public trust that lends legitimacy to any office-holder is the ability to support effective and efficient strategies for securing a healthy future of sustainable prosperity.

This is why ever greater numbers of ordinary people are demanding smart, coordinated, high-ambition climate policies from the U.S. and from governments around the world. This is why the COP26 must be a turning point in the human struggle to avoid out-of-control climate emergency.

In fact, as CCL notes in its press release today:

Since the budget reconciliation process began, CCL volunteers from all 50 states have generated more than 134,000 calls and emails to Congress and the White House, asking them to include a carbon price in the budget reconciliation bill.

We can reinvent our energy systems and rapidly eliminate carbon pollution, while protecting and expanding household incomes.

Learn how

Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a sister organization of Citizens’ Climate International, where the author of this newsletter is Executive Director.