In the Toolkit --

Introduction

  • Guide to the Toolkit
  • Leagues in Action
  • I. Choosing a Role for Your League

    II. Grassroots Action Priorities

  • Clean Power Plan
  • Price on Carbon
  • Energy Efficient Buildings
  • Renewable Energy
  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • III. Basics of Climate Change

    IV. Engaging Individuals

  • Communicating About Climate Change
  • Preparing for a Meeting on Climate Change
  • Engaging Groups in Your Community
  • V. Promoting Public Policy

  • Community Action Models
  • Organizing For Community Action
  • Tips for Building Grassroots Support
  • League Action on Climate Change
  • International Action
  • VI. Resources

    PUTTING A PRICE ON CARBON

    NEW. On May 23, the Price on Carbon Steering Committee (see below) hosted its second webinar, An Economist's Perspective on Carbon Pricing, featuring internationally renowned economist Dr. Adele Morris, Senior Fellow and Policy Director for Climate and Energy Economics at the Brookings Institution. A summary and a recording of the webinar are available on the Price on Carbon website here. Also included is a link to Dr. Morris' slides and a listing of the resources she mentioned.

    About Pricing Carbon
    Economists -- and many others, including League members -- agree that putting a price on carbon is the most effective way to reduce GHG emissions. Indeed, delegates to the LWVUS Convention in June 2014 voted overwhelmingly in support of League efforts to put a price on carbon. A carbon price increases the cost of fossil fuels and the products created by them and thus encourages lower-carbon behavior. It also generates funds that can be used for a variety of purposes, including, for example, increased investment in energy efficiency and alternative energy resources.

    There are two main market-based strategies for reducing GHG emissions. A cap-and-trade system curbs emissions by limiting the quantity of a pollutant (e.g., carbon dioxide) that can be emitted and then allocating a corresponding number of tradable emissions permits to sources covered by the program. A carbon tax curbs emissions by raising the price of fossil fuels based on their carbon content. The background paper Cap-and-Trade versus Carbon Tax: Two Approaches to Curbing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (2009) describes the main features of the two approaches and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each.

    An excellent resource on carbon pricing is the Price on Carbon website developed by Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville League member Diz Swift. The website has been endorsed by the LWVUS Board.

    League Work on Carbon Pricing
    The League strongly supports putting a price on carbon but is not advocating one particular system at this time. A carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system are both market-based tools that create incentives to reduce carbon emissions, and the League could support a well-designed system of either type. Placing a significant and increasing price on carbon is critical to achieving the aggressive reduction in U.S. carbon emissions that is needed to limit future global warming.

    The League supported the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill (the Climate and Security Act of 2008), for example, which was designed to cut GHG emissions from electric power, transportation, and manufacturing sources. Though it passed in the U.S. House, the legislation was side-tracked in the U.S. Senate by special interests.

    League advocacy for a carbon tax gained momentum at the 2014 LWVUS Convention when delegates gave overwhelming support to a resolution that the League "should support a price on carbon emissions that will increase in stages, as part of an overall program to improve energy efficiency and to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, fast enough to avoid serious damage to the climate system."

    Price on Carbon Steering Committee. Building on this strong support for carbon pricing, several League members decided to create an informal Price on Carbon network to help interested League members learn more about the topic and about carbon pricing efforts underway around the country. Members of the Steering Committee for this initiative include Diz Swift (LWV Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville), Eleanor Revelle (LWVUS Climate Change Task Force Chair), Chad Tolman (LWV Delaware), and Launa Zimmaro (LWV Massachusetts).    

    The Steering Committee organized a Price on Carbon caucus at the 2016 LWVUS Convention and presented information about the variety of carbon pricing models available, efforts to promote carbon pricing in three very different states, and lessons learned from these efforts.

    •  Links to the slide show presentation are available here on the Price on Carbon website.
    •  Also available is a
    recommended reading list prepared for the caucus by Steering Committee and Climate Change Task Force member Chad Tolman.

    More recently, the Steering Committee has begun hosting quarterly webinars featuring highly regarded experts on the topic of carbon pricing.

    • February 21, 2017 -- The Case for Carbon Pricing, with Dr. Naomi Oreskes, science historian, geologist, and author of both scholarly and polular books and articles on the history of earth and environmental science. A recording of this webinar, together with slides and handouts, is available here.
    • May 23, 2017 -- An Economist's Perspective on Carbon Pricing, with Dr. Adele Morris, Senior Fellow and Policy Director for Climate and Energy Economics at the Brookings Institution. A summary and a recording of the webinar, along with a list of resources, are available
    here

    League members interested in keeping up to date with what Leagues around the country are doing to promote carbon pricing in their state are invited to join the Price on Carbon network by sending an email to action@lwvbae.org. Include "LWV Price on Carbon" in the title line.  

    RESOURCES

    Last updated: 5/28/2017