Dingell Carbon Tax Proposal Begins an Important Debate

Dingell Carbon Tax Proposal Begins an Important Debate

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748

Friends of the Earth activists to send comments in favor of idea to congressman and suggest improvements

WASHINGTON — Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) posted a draft carbon tax plan on his website today for comment, a move that was welcomed by Friends of the Earth, which has long advocated changes to the federal tax code that could help the U.S. reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

“Congressman Dingell’s leadership on a carbon tax is a much needed contribution in the global warming debate,” said Friends of the Earth Domestic Programs Director Erich Pica. “While needing some improvement, Congressman Dingell’s economy-wide carbon tax is a serious policy option and will ensure that those paying for global warming pollution are the polluters themselves.”

Pica noted that while tax-averse lawmakers tend to prefer emissions caps over carbon taxes for political reasons, most economists and policy experts believe that carbon taxes are likely to be more efficient and effective. He said that many political objections to creating new taxes on carbon could be overcome by using new revenue to cut other taxes or increase tax rebates, as Dingell’s proposal does by directing new funds to the Earned Income Tax Credit.

“By helping to increase the visibility of carbon taxes, Congressman Dingell is helping to increase their viability,” Pica said.

The draft carbon tax proposal also includes reform of the mortgage interest tax deduction and a 50 cent increase in the gasoline tax. Friends of the Earth is asking its members to write to Dingell to thank him for supporting a carbon tax but also to encourage him to increase the tax rate to ensure that a carbon tax achieves the reductions needed to avert the worst impacts of global warming. Friends of the Earth members writing the congressman will also ask him to ensure that revenues from his measure that are directed to transportation go to rail and public transit instead of roads, and they will ask him to devote some of the revenues to funding adaptation measures that can help developing nations cope with the challenges of global warming.

Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) introduced an alternative carbon tax proposal in Congress earlier this year, and Friends of the Earth also supports that measure.

To see Congressman Dingell’s proposal, visit http://www.house.gov/dingell/carbonTaxSummary.shtml.