February 13 News: Senators To Introduce Climate Legislation With A Carbon Tax

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) center, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) right.

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) are expected to outline climate legislation on Thursday morning, which will include a tax on carbon emissions. [The Nation]

Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer will outline the legislation on Thursday morning. Details are scant, though it’s being billed as “major” and “comprehensive” legislation, and will have a carbon tax, per a statement from Sanders’s office:

“Under the legislation, a fee on carbon pollution emissions would fund historic investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. The proposal also would provide rebates to consumers to offset any efforts by oil, coal or gas companies to raise prices.”

In response to President Obama’s proposals in tonight’s State of the Union address to fight climate change, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is launching a multi-state TV ad campaign to support that goal. [EDF]

A study in the February Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans ties the measured acceleration of sea level rise along the mid-Atlantic coast of the U.S. to a simultaneous slowdown in the flow of the Gulf Stream. [Climate Central]

Superstorm Sandy was the deadliest hurricane in the northeastern U.S. in 40 years and the second-costliest in the nation’s history, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Hurricane Center. [AP]

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reaffirmed its initial conclusion that Hurricane Sandy was no longer a hurricane when it made landfall. Instead, it was a “post-tropical cyclone” packing hurricane-force winds, the report said. [Climate Central]

Europe’s emissions trading scheme has spurred some companies to file patents for technology that cuts greenhouse gas emissions, but had virtually no impact on the number of so-called low carbon patents since the scheme launched in 2005, a new study has found. [Reuters]

Two office blocks in Norway from the 1980s are about to be refit with geothermal and solar energy capacity as a demonstration project for “energy positive” buildings. [Reuters]

The UK will need to develop a huge fleet of currently experimental nuclear reactors by mid-century, to meet the most nuclear-intensive scenario for moving away from fossil fuels, according to a report by the government’s most senior scientific advisers. [The Guardian]

10 Responses to February 13 News: Senators To Introduce Climate Legislation With A Carbon Tax

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Thanks to Barbara and Bernie, two of my favorites. It is unlikely to pass, given likely objections from Democrats like Manchin and Landrieu, and even with majority support the Republicans would filibuster.

    That’s OK, it’s worth the effort to open up a dialogue about carbon taxes, and see where everyone stands. The corporate media can be expected to underplay the bill and show “both sides”. Expect more BS about the “clean fuel”.

    If we ever get a carbon tax, it will be interesting to see how natural gas’ score is tabulated. Will they factor methane as calculated by NOAA? If so, it’s a new ballgame, and we can expect the most ferocious pushback on a tax issue in our history. The top 10 gas producers include Exxon, Chevron, BP, and Conoco Phillips, along with Far Right companies like Anadarko and Chesapeake, with Koch doing much of the infrastructure. Obama is obviously afraid to offend them, and where he stands on this bill will tell us a lot.

  2. Mark E says:

    What percentage of all bills get referred to committee and are never heard from again?

  3. Jim Baird says:

    The solution to future Superstorm Sandies is the source of all of the energy we need and the salvation of our oceans.

  4. Lee James says:

    Right on, Mike! Lots of folks believe nuclear power is a questionable option, even in transition. I believe the public is much less clear on natural gas. Mike, great outline of the situation with NG. Today’s non-conventional NG is not “your father’s” NG. You have to wonder if you really want the new “cheap” gas, plus fugitive methane, for your children.

  5. Lee James says:

    -Glad to see a carbon tax in the proposal. The only real question around a carbon tax is what to do with the revenues.

    Politically, I suspect that tax revenues will need to be allocated to a combination of revenue-generating/specific-purpose uses, along with a revenue-neutral/back-to-the-consumer aspect. Both uses of revenue send a “full-costing” price signal to consumers about fossil fuels. Result: the tax does not overly burden the less well off, and we can get some specific work done to distance our nation from fossil fuels.

  6. Niall says:

    I’m no expert, so please correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that this process is also behind vital aspects of the hydrological cycle.

    This would seem to be wide open to unintended consequences – like worsening the already worsening drought problem.

  7. David B. Benson says:

    Use some of the revenues to plat a prodigious number of trees, irrigated where necessary.

  8. Anderlan says:

    Thank Jesus they’re calling it a fee. A fee. A fee. A penalty. A fine. A correction. A FEE. And a DIVIDEND.

    Romm, why the hell do you (and others) keep using the word that describes a generic device that is *supposed* to be used to create revenue?

    Taxes are not supposed to alter behavior or penalize pollution, say. I don’t pay a speeding tax. (Where they are used for that, there are pitfalls–why should states *depend* on revenue from people smoking?) They are supposed to raise revenue in the most benign way (so, progressive rates).

    It is vitally important that a carbon fee not be used permanently for revenue.

  9. prokaryotes says:

    People who are against the carbon tax are making climate change much worse.

  10. mulp says:

    Why a carbon tax?

    If we stop the XL Pipeline we save the planet and reverse global warming!!!

    Or is the XL Pipeline irrelevant to addressing the global problem?

    Why isn’t all the organizing and demonstrations put behind a carbon tax instead of irrelevant local projects?