Washington, D.C. – It was reported today that Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) will be introducing a bill into Congress this week, the “Healthy Climate and Family Security Act” that seeks to establish a carbon “cap-and-dividend” program that would allow sellers of fossil fuels to purchase carbon emissions permits at auction. The bill requires that money raised from these auctions be returned to holders of Social Security Numbers in the form of a dividend, while setting a cap on carbon emissions of 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
In response, Food & Water Watch issued the following statement from Scott Edwards, Climate and Energy Co-Director:
“While it’s good to see more attention in Congress to our worsening climate crisis, introducing neoliberal approaches like the cap-and-dividend plan contained in the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act is not what we need to save the planet. A similar market system of carbon control has been in place in the European Union for over ten years with no appreciable impact on greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the program has been fraught with fraud and misuse as industry and allowance brokers take advantage of market manipulation to make money and avoid reducing emissions.
“Even worse, allowing industries to purchase the right to pollute will have harmful consequences for local communities, particularly lower income communities of color who are forced to live in close proximity to many polluting fossil fuel facilities. These environmental justice impacts have been documented in California under its own cap-and-trade program where industries are using the ability to purchase pollution allowances to increase their discharges into frontline communities.
“The next ten years are critical if we’re going to fight off the worst impacts of climate change and avoid hitting several climate tipping points. Getting to 80 percent reductions in emissions by 2050 will still leave us suffering much of the same devastation we’re seen this past hurricane season in the Gulf and the recent forest fires in California. We need more aggressive and protective climate goals that don’t depend on a market that simply allows polluters to buy their way out of reducing emissions.”
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
Contact: Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; [email protected]