A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
Five Things the CLEAR Act Does RightThe CLEAR Act (S. 2877) creates a sensible path to a low-carbon economy while protecting middle- and low-income U.S. residents from increased energy prices:
1. It places a price on the carbon in fossil fuels to reflect their real environmental costs.
Everyone who burns fossil fuels will have to pay for the carbon in that fuel. This will create a powerful incentive to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and build a low-carbon economy based on renewable energy.
2. It protects middle and lower income families from energy price increases.
Most of the money raised by selling carbon allowances will be returned equally to legal residents of the United States. Most middle- and lower- income families will get more back in the rebate than they pay in increased energy costs.
3. It treats everyone fairly.
Because CLEAR places a price on fossil carbon when it enters the economy, it treats all emitters of carbon dioxide the same. Whether you are a coal burning utility or a person using a gas grill in your back yard, you have to pay for the fossil carbon you use. Everyone is free to have a large a carbon footprint as long as they are willing to pay for it!
4. It steadily reduces carbon emissions.
By steadily decreasing the number of allowances for selling fossil carbon and by increasing the price of those allowances, CLEAR will reduce our total carbon emissions over time.
5. It provides predictable carbon prices and lets the marketplace chose the best technologies.
CLEAR contains no subsidies for any type of energy system. By not picking winners and losers CLEAR supports innovation. The "price collar" - statutorily set minimum and maximum prices that increase over time - gives the kind of price predictability that innovators, investors in clean technology and consumers of fossil fuels need to transition to a low carbon economy.