Surprise! Putting Price On Carbon Is A Job-Creating Bonanza



SAN DIEGO, MARCH 3, 2014 – An aggressively-priced carbon tax in California, with revenue returned to the public, would actually grow the state’s economy and increase jobs, according to a new study released by Citizens Climate Lobby.

The study, prepared for CCL by Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), looked at the economic impact of revenue-neutral taxes that start low and level off at $50-, $100- and $200-per-ton on carbon-dioxide emissions. In each case, the study examined two methods of revenue return – across the board cuts to income, sales and corporate taxes (ATB) and direct payments to households through a fee and dividend (FAD) system.

Under the most aggressive scenario – a carbon tax steadily rising to $200 per ton of carbon-dioxide by 2035 – the study found that the “tax swap” could add 300,000 jobs in California, increase annual GDP in 2035 by $18 billion, increase annual income by $16 billion by 2035, and reduce carbon emissions to less than 75% of 1990 levels.

“Detractors have said over and over that a carbon tax will tank the economy and kill jobs,” said Mark Reynolds, Executive Director of Citizens Climate Lobby. “This study blows that assumption out of the water. It shows that a carbon tax will actually create jobs and be good for the economy, provided the revenue from that tax is recycled back into the economy.”

Under the Fee and Dividend scenario – revenue returned directly to households – the $200-per-ton tax would see a net gain of 236,000 jobs in California by 2035 with GDP up by $2.5 billion annually.

The REMI study does not suggest that a carbon tax should replace California’s cap-and-trade system set up under AB 32. In fact, the study says “it is perfectly possible for the two to coexist and reinforce the same objectives of reducing carbon emissions (both policies).”

Last summer, REMI prepared a similar report about the effect of revenue-neutral carbon taxes in Massachusetts – the highest scenario $45 per ton of CO2 – which found that, like the California study, the state would see an increase in jobs and GDP. Since then, three of the five Democratic candidates for governor in Massachusetts have announced their support for a carbon tax.

“Economists from both ends of the political spectrum have argued that a carbon tax, with revenue returned to the public, is the most efficient and effective way to reduce emissions that are changing our climate,” said Reynolds. “We now have the studies to back up those assertions, and there will be more to come.”

Citizens Climate Lobby, a non-partisan advocacy organization with more than 150 chapters in North America, advocates for a national revenue-neutral carbon tax and will hold its 5th international conference in Washington D.C. June 22-24 2014. CCL plans to have volunteers meet with every congressional office on Capitol Hill.

More links:

Think Progress: Surprise! Even a Crazy-High Price On Carbon Would Help California Businesses

President Obama Takes First Step On Path To Climate Sanity

As President Obama unveiled his plan of action to address climate change earlier this week, my husband and I were part of a group of 370 citizen lobbyists from across the U.S. and Canada who fanned out over Capitol Hill to make the case for the market-based approach of a revenue-neutral carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What a whirlwind of a week!  While I can’t say that we solved the climate crisis, I can tell you that our meetings with 435 congressional offices, the World Bank, the IMF, and the Canadian Embassy are shifting the conversation about pricing carbon pollution.

In his speech at Georgetown University to debut his climate plan, Obama announced that he would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.

Mark Reynolds, Executive Director of Citizens Climate Lobby responded to President Obama’s speech by emphasizing the conservative nature of a straightforward carbon tax:

The President is making good on his State-of-the-Union promise to address climate change, when he said, ‘If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will’. We’re here to tell Congress there’s still time for them to act, particularly if they want to avoid the use of increased regulations to reduce heat-trapping gasesThe clock has started on the process that will eventually result in the use of EPA regulations to reduce carbon pollution in the energy sector. Is this what Republicans want? Or would they prefer using a market-based solution that speeds the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy?

A number of conservative economists, including Reagan advisor Art Laffer and Romney advisor Greg Mankiw, have backed a revenue-neutral carbon tax as the most efficient and effective means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They maintain that carbon-based fuels enjoy an advantage over clean technologies because their costs to society – health, security and environmental – is not reflected in the price that’s paid for them. Correcting this distortion would allow the market to function properly and reduce the demand for fossil fuels.

We believe this solution – a tax on carbon that gives all the revenue back to the public – could be embraced by conservatives, especially as an alternative to government regulations. That’s the message our volunteers are taking to Republican offices today.”  Mark Reynolds, Executive Director, Citizens Climate Lobby

Citizens Climate Lobby wrapped up a three-day conference today with hundreds of volunteers conducting meetings with 439 House and Senate offices.

The President’s speech couldn’t be better timed,” said Reynolds. “It gives Republicans a good reason to take a serious look at a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Like objects in a passenger-side mirror, the tipping point for a carbon tax might be closer than it appears.”

In case you missed President Obama’s awesome speech, here it is:



More links:

DeSmog Blog: President Obama Pegs Fate of Keystone XL to Climate Emissions, Slams Climate Denial Flat Earth Society

Carbon Tax: Republicans Are Starting To Hear The Free-Market Message

The Environmentalist: President Obama’s Speech On Climate

Obama Belatedly Calls For A National Conversation on Climate Action

In a rather lukewarm* way, at his post-election press conference today, President Obama responds to reporters questions about Hurricane Sandy and the need to take action on climate change. His lack of passion and commitment on this issue is disappointing but remember, it would have been sooo much worse with Mitt Romney at the helm!


*pun intended!

Thanks to my FB friend and fellow climate warrior Ina W. for posting this on her FB page in such a timely manner!

Hurricane Sandy “More Scary Than 9/11,Because You Get The Feeling It Could Happen Again & Again & Again”

Colin Beavan, aka “No Impact Man“, lives in New York City and wrote this thoughtful response after experiencing Hurricane Sandy last week (bold type added):

Dear friends,

I don’t say this often but I am scared. Not scared to the point of paralysis. Not scared enough to run away. Not scared enough to stop trying to help. Not scared enough to think we’re doomed. Just scared enough to feel worried for myself, my family, my friends, my community, my country, and my world.

I was lucky when Hurricane Sandy hit. My daughter Bella and I put on our waterproofs in the early hours and ran around Brooklyn’s Fort Greene park in the wind and rain with Frankie–our dog–and our Occupy Wall Street activist friend/hero Monica Hunken.

That night, the lights flickered a couple of times. I lost my internet for three hours. Frankie the dog hid in the upstairs bathroom bathtub. That was the extent of it.

But when I woke up, lower Manhattan was flooded and without power. All the coastal parts of Brooklyn and Queens from Red Hook to Coney Island through the Rockaways and Hamilton Beach were hammered. The wind had driven a fire through Queens that destroyed so many houses. And the world’s most amazing subway system was brought to its knees. To say nothing of poor Staten Island and coastal New Jersey.

We in the Tri-State Area didn’t get Katrina. But we got a taste of her.

Yes, there are some good parts. New Yorkers have been showing up some of the emergency shelters in such numbers that they have been turned away. There are donation drives and volunteer efforts. And about a gazillion New Yorkers have taken to cycling.

But there is a lot of suffering. And a lot of fear not of what Sandy brought. But of what next year’s storm will bring. And the year after that. And after that. First Irene, now Sandy, for how many years in a row can New York City withstand a “once in a century” storm, people are asking?

I hung up the phone with a friend just a few minutes ago. She said, “In some ways, this is way more scarey than 9/11, because you get the feeling that it could happen again and again and again.”

In a coffee shop this afternoon, everyone at every table was talking about climate change. People are talking about where they will go next time. To an aunt’s in New Hampshire. A friend with three cottages in Maine. People are talking about their escape plan for when New York stops functioning.

Katrina, Irene, Sandy, droughts all summer, busted corn crops, water shortages in the southwest: it’s hard to believe we aren’t seeing what the climate scientists predicted. But sooner. Way sooner than they said.

It feels ironic and sad. That the war in Iraq sparked by 9/11 may have got us what we wanted–control over more oil. But that burning that self-same oil has brought us another mini-9/11. Except that this one we are kind of doing to ourselves.

Fracking–the drilling for natural gas by injecting poisonous chemicals into the same rock formations that our drinking comes from. Fighting in the Middle East. Drilling in the arctic. Mountaintop removal in Appalachia. Mining the Canadian tar sands. Building the pipelines. This is bonkers.

Especially when the sun shines everywhere. The wind blows everywhere. The rivers run everywhere. We can generate our power in better, cheaper, safer ways.

Of course, there are reasons for resistance. Our economy is based on fossil fuels. Changing it would be a gargantuan effort. There would be a cost to a transition. But the costs of not making the transition will be much higher. Ask the NY Mass Transit Authority, which is still pumping out the tunnels. Or ask the citizens of New Orleans.

But this isn’t a bitch fest. It’s an appeal.

Years ago, when I did the No Impact Man experiment, I went on the Good Morning America show and I said it wasn’t important that all Americans did as much as I did. “We must each just do something,” I said.

I was mistaken. We must each do a lot.

We all–including me–have a tendency to think that shaking our fist at the TV news or leaving an angry comment on a blog or “clictivism” is some sort of an expression. We need to do more. Not just more at home, but more in our civic engagement, more in the citizen guiding of how our society moves forward.

In fact, I’d argue that we–all of us–need to find a way to dedicate at least some part of our lives to solving our problems. Climate change we need to fix, yes. But also we need to accept that the economic system we live in is driving that climate change. Consumption, as the basis for economy, has become like a winter coat that needs to be shed. It no longer serves us.

Now, I’m not going to claim that I know what each of us should do, how each of us should help to bring about the Great Transformation. I don’t think anyone exactly knows. This, by the way, was the great criticism of Occupy Wall Street, back in the day. That they didn’t say exactly what we should do. They didn’t make their demands clear, the press kept saying.

That was Occupy’s strength in my view. The willingness to bring attention to problems we don’t quite know the solutions for. Occupy didn’t have concrete demands because none of us quite know what we should be demanding quite yet. Occupy was saying “stop ignoring problems just because we don’t know the solution!!!!!!”

You may disagree with me. You may say, we know the solution, it’s renewable energy. But where is the political will to bring that change about when the fossil fuel industry has spent $150 million in this election cycle?

You may say, the solution is getting corporate money out of politics. But how do we do that when the politicians we need to vote for such a thing are the beneficiaries of that self-same corporate money?

You may say, the solution lies in measuring Gross National Happiness instead of Gross Domestic Product. But how do we get that done?

We have lots of ideas about what would fix things, but we have no idea how to actually get those ideas instituted. That’s kind of where we are at a loss. How do we actually bring about the change?

It’s not to say we can’t bring it about. But it is to say that a lot more of us are going to have to join the search for the solutions and the effort to institute them.

In a way, what I am saying is the same as what Occupy said: “Stop pretending that you can’t help just because you don’t know exactly how to help!!!!!!”

We all have to start dedicating some of our lives to these problems. Not just voting for the right people. Not just leaving comments on blogs. Not just having intense conversations over coffee.

So what then?

Here’s a thought. Decide to dedicate five to ten hours a week to helping figure out what to do. Then use those five to ten hours to bring your personal gifts to the search for societal solutions and the means of implementing them.

If you are political then, whatever side of the aisle you are on, start going to your party’s meetings and insist that they address themselves to the major, new-world problems we are facing instead of grumbling over the same stuff they have for 50 years. Get them to try to be leaders instead of winners.

If you are an artist or musician or writer, use your talents to bring more and more attention to our problems and the quest for the solution. Be a constant reminder of the peril our society and world faces.

If you are a therapist or life coach, find a way to introduce to your clients the idea that the problems they face are the same problems all of us are facing. Financial insecurity, for example, is something we can fix together better than any one of us can fix alone.

If you are a banker, bring your personal values and your heart and soul to work with you. The expression “it’s only business” has to be jettisoned. This idea that the free market will fix things so we can ignore the dictates of our conscience needs to be fixed.

If you have a spare bedroom, find an activist who can’t drag themselves away from the work they are doing for all of us long enough to earn themselves some rent. Home and safety for those on the front line of social change is a wonderful service.

If you have two feet, march with my friends at whenever you have a chance.

All of us have our own ways to help.

One thing is clear, whatever our individual contribution, every one of us needs to be moving back into the political system and the democracy. We are all so disgusted by it that our instinct is to abandon it. In this case, our instinct is wrong. We totally need to Occupy our democracy. We need to flood it with people, with us.

Overall, though, my point here is that all of us have a role to play in our cultural healing. There is no leader who can tell us how to contribute. Each of us has to look around us and use our own minds and souls to see what needs doing and how we are best suited to do it. Each of us must contribute in our own way.

I began this piece by saying that I’m scared. Because I am. But my fear is just a sign that I need to do something. There is really only one thing I know how to do–to write. And so I’m doing it. I don’t know if if will help. But it is the one thing I know how to do.

What is the one thing you know how to do? What is the one thing you can dedicate a slice of your life to?

We can’t leave it to the politicians or the designers or the Occupiers or the activists. It’s up to each of us.

Because–and I’ve said and written this many times–the question is not whether each of us is the type of person who can make a difference. The question is whether we are the type of people who want to try to make a difference. And Sandy has told us we all need each other to try.


PS I’d love to hear in the comments what you are doing or plan to do.
PPS If you want to let your Brooklyn friends know that I’m running for Congress and ask them to vote for me on Tuesday, that would be great too.

Colin blogs at No Impact Man.

Fun at Calgary’s Oil and Bank Towers

I am away from my computer for two weeks, as my husband and I explore more of one of our favourite places in Canada, Newfoundland (AKA “The Rock”). While I’m away 350orbust will be featuring guest writers and some of my favourite columns revisited, as well as some random stuff that  I think is important or makes me happy and I want to share.

source: Wikimedia Commons

Today’s guest blogger is Sharon Howarth. Sharon is the mother of two daughters in their mid-twenties who lives in  Toronto, Canada. She, like me, is a volunteer with Citizens Climate Lobby Canada. I invited Sharon to write about her recent trip west, after hearing via the CCL grapevine that she had done the entire trip by bus, and had adventures on the way, as only a climate activist on a mission in oil country can!

At the beginning of August this year, I was on my way home from B.C.  The trip was a combination of  visiting my daughter and working on my issue,  which is the solution to Climate Change.  Hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline took place in Prince George on July 9th and 10th which I attended and will write on that a little later.

I traveled by bus from Toronto, which took 3 full days, as I could not in good conscience take an airplane with the huge individual carbon footprint.  On my return journey, the bus made a  4 hour stop in Calgary.    Being in ‘oil town’ was  an opportunity I could not allow to slip through my fingers.

A security guard pointed me in the direction of the city centre.  I was told about and found the very busy pedestrian street which held the ‘Home Oil’ tower on one side of the street and the ‘Bank Hall’ tower  on the  other.   Needless to say, the suits were crossing from one tower to the next and I was in the mood for sharing important information and having fun.

I stood in the middle of this suit traffic and, as someone was coming towards me,  I looked at them and said, “Stop Climate Change with Carbon Fee and Dividend”.   I then pulled out the flyer, which I was holding at my side,  and handed  it in their direction.

People are so, well, good.    I’m sure most  were thinking, “This poor woman needs directions”, God bless them.  Although a large  number did not accept the handout, they all heard what I had to say, and that has tremendous value.    And  yet,  ALL the 120 handouts I had were taken and in very short order.  I found I could have used a whole  lot more but, unfortunately, I did not have the memory stick with me which held the template of the flyer.   Still, what a hoot.

And some say that people are not concerned about climate change  !!

With Love and LOTS  of Hope,


If you want to get inspired to take action to work for action on climate change, visit the Citizens Climate Lobby website or email


Super Hero Leaps For Climate Action

Last year a hole had to be cut in the ice, but for the second annual Leap in Red Lake For Climate Action, the lake was ice-free. The water was still very cold, however, with temperature  hovering around 4 degrees Celcius (39 degrees Fahrenheit).  The leapers were supported by the Cold Water Rescue Team from the Goldcorp  Red Lake Gold Mine, as well as a local rescue diver and a lifeguard. The community came out to cheer on the brave souls willing to “chatter for change”. The event was organized by the local Green Committee in partnership with the Red Lake Indian Friendship Centre and the Red Lake chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL).

The sun was shining, and an enthusiastic group of volunteers showed up willing to leap for climate action, including the first public appearance of super hero  CCL Man. Before jumping into the frigid water, each leaper gave the reason behind their wish for action on climate change. Those reasons ranged from sons & daughters, nieces and nephews, patients, to fruit trees and Gaia herself. Prior to the leap, one of those present spoke about the importance of the land that gives us life, and recognized that we were on traditional Anishinaabe territory. Then one of the participants, a family doctor, had this to say before we took the plunge:

Anyone who has lived here for a long time will have noticed that our weather is changing.  The days when we had two or threeweek spells of -30 in winter are all but gone.  Our springs start earlier and falls go later.  As well, we’re getting more extreme weather—like the flooding several summers ago and the long hot summer last year.  This year’s ice break up in Howey Bay was, as I understand it, the earliest on record, although 2 years ago was the record before that.  Our March weather this year set high temperature records for 9 different days, sometimes obliterating the previous records by over 10 degrees C.  2010 was another such year when another 5 days in March hit all-time records.

This is not just a phenomenon peculiar to our community.  Across the globe there has been unprecedented extreme weather—floods, droughts, record heat waves causing huge damage and loss of life.  Globally, the 1980s was the hottest decade ever recorded until it was beat out by the 1990s, which in turn was surpassed by the 2000s.  Although there are cooler and warmer areas, overall our global climate is clearly warming.  Scientific research into this has been very extensive and gone on for decades.  By now, though you might not know it from media reports, there is virtually unanimous agreement among the thousands of scientists worldwide who study climate that our climate is warming because of manmade emissions of so-called “greenhouse gases,” primarily carbon dioxide which is a by-product of burning fossil fuels like oil, gas or coal.

Furthermore, science tells us if we don’t stop this process soon it will begin to accelerate through natural mechanisms beyond our control till at some point in the future much of the earth could become too dry and hot to live in.  They’re telling us that we are perilously close to that tipping point even now and that we have less than 10 years to start getting serious about changing course as a global civilization.   We’re beginning to see the reality of climate change already but this is only a hint of how severe things will get if we don’t act.

Good news:  all the technologies we need to transition from the problem-causing fossil fuels to non-polluting energy sources already exist.  We just need to roll them out.

Bad news:  the industries with influence and money and power are the ones with a vested interest in keeping things as they are—the oil, gas and coal industries.  They would rather continue to make money than  protect the world for our children and grandchildren, and they are using their influence to lobby our government leaders to maintain the status quo.

Our current provincial government, whatever else you may think of them, has been very progressive in their Green Energy Act which encourages development of renewable energy to provide us all with power.  Our federal government, unfortunately, has been listening to the fossil fuel interests and has been trying hard to suppress the science on climate change in order to get away with developing the Alberta tar sands.  This behaviour needs to stop, if we are to maintain a livable planet for our children and their children.

A lot of people are committed to using less fossil fuel energy—“reducing their carbon footprint”—and this is important, but by itself it won’t save our global climate because not everyone will choose to live that way.  What’s required is that we change our economic system to charge industries that currently use the atmosphere as a free garbage dump for CO2 and instead reward industries that use or provide energy from non-polluting sources.

Even though they are a small minority, the voices of the fossil fuel interests are loud in the halls of power.  If we care about the future for our children we need to make ourselves heard above that noise.  I would encourage everyone here to get involved by contacting our various government representatives to let them know how important this issue is to us and asking them to act.  Until our politicians understand that ignoring the health and safety of their constituents will get them voted out of office, very little will change.  Please get involved and speak up.

Thanks again for coming out.  Let’s have some fun.



The world needs more Climate Heroes. Citizens Climate Lobby can help you become one, too. To learn more about CCL, participate in the monthly CCL Introductory Call, held the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 5:00 PM Pacific, 8:00 PM Eastern. That means you can tune in this week, May 2nd, so that you,too, can become a climate hero.

This call is for people who are new to CCL and would like to know more about us, what we do and how we do it. Participants on the call will receive all relevant information about starting or joining a CCL Group. Email Mark Reynolds for more information.

On September 24th, The Planet Is Moving. Are You Joining The Ride Beyond Fossil Fuels?

Across Ontario and around the world, September 24th is a a day for people to rally and demand from our elected leaders action on moving beyond fossil fuels. Initiated by, Moving Planet is a day to put our demands for climate action into motion—marching, biking, skating—calling for the world to go beyond fossil fuels.

Moving Planet will be a day to put our demands for climate action into motion—marching, biking, skating—calling for the world to go beyond fossil fuels.

To find a Moving Planet event in your community, click here.

Here in Red Lake, we’re kicking off our Harvest Festival with a bike rally/rodeo around town, ending with a bike maintenance workshop. Along with all the Harvest Festival activities during the day, Saturday evening we are screening “carbon nation”, which describes itself as  nn optimistic, solutions-based, non-partisan documentary that illustrates why it’s incredibly smart to be a part of the new, low-carbon economy: it’s good business, it emboldens national and energy security, and it improves health and the environment. The screening will be followed by a Q & Q session with Director Peter Byck.

In Winnipeg, Manitoba, some friends of mine have put together a fabulous event which has been kicked off by a chalk “footprint parade” around the city for the last two weeks, and culminates with a parade from the Manitoba Legislature to the Forks where music will be happening at the Main Stage. If you’re in the city, check it out – go to the Moving Manitoba event page for all the details.

So wherever you are, get out,get moving, connect with other people who are concerned about their children’s future, and have fun doing it! Remember, there is NO Planet B!

More links:

Climate Mama: The Planet is Moving: Are You Joining the Ride?

If Ordinary Canadians Can Find The Courage To Leap Into A Frozen Lake, Why Can’t Our Leaders Find the Courage To Tackle Climate Change?

Yesterday, on a cool and rainy Saturday, 22 crazy Canucks jumped into a frozen northern Ontario lake to send a message to our elected officials that it’s time to take action on climate change.  Well, first we cut a hole in the ice and then we took the plunge.  If we are courageous enough to do that, surely our leaders can find the courage to address this critical problem.  Green Party Candidate Mike Schwindt participated in the leap, and NDP candidate Tania Cameron was also present (although she declined the invitation to get wet for a good cause). And nearly $700 was raised for our community emergency shelter’s local food initiative.

Here are some pictures from the event. Congratulations to the brave “Leapers” who “chattered for change”, and to all the volunteers who helped make it happen (especially Perry, the “stage manager” who spent hours on Friday chopping out the ice so we’d have someplace to jump, and did much of the behind-the-scenes work Saturday) !