By Nicholas Salazar
Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced the Climate Protection Act Thursday, legislation aimed at placing an initial $20 fee on each ton of carbon or methane emitted in order to reach a long-term goal of 80 percent green house gas emissions by 2050.
The Congressional Budget office estimates that these fees, which would rise at a rate of 5.6 percent over a decade, could result in $1.2 trillion in revenue over ten years.
As part of the proposal, $300 billion of that revenue gained would go towards reducing the national debt, with the remaining revenue going towards investment in manufacturing, renewable energy research and infrastructure.
“Let me be clear, the issue that we are dealing with today is not political,” Sanders said during a press conference. “It has nothing to do with … all of the political swabbing we see here every day. It has everything to do with physics.”
Sanders went on to say that rising temperatures could lead to rising sea levels, and could eventually lead to cities like New Orleans or Boston being flooded and virtually uninhabitable.
Other aspects of the bill include a rebate program to combat the threat of rising oil prices and a global initiative to assure that everyone has the same set of rules and regulations to conduct business.
Boxer urged immediate action on the issue, and said that “the earth is headed towards a planetary emergency.”
Climate change was a key topic of President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, with the President calling for congressional action to address the issue. He went on to say that if Congress did not act, then he would take action through executive order.
“We have the opportunity right now, with the President’s commitment in the State of the Union, to make progress,” Sanders explained.
UPDATE: A group of House Democrats will unveil a proposal of their own on Friday morning. Led by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the group will hold a news conference at 10:00 a.m. to discuss their plan.
– End Update –