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Congressman Jerry McNerney

Representing the 9th District of California

Rep. McNerney Introduces Consumers REBATE Legislation to Reduce Emissions

Dec 17, 2015
Press Release
Bill would Give Rebate to Consumers, Boost Economy, and Promote Alternative Energy Use

Washington – On the heels of the successful United Nations Climate Conference in Paris where nearly 200 nations agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) is showing his leadership on the issue by introducing the Consumers REBATE (Rebate to ban Emissions and Boost AlTernative Energy) Act. This new climate legislation is aimed at reducing emissions, boosting the economy, and promoting cleaner air and healthier communities.

“Combating the dangerous effects of a changing climate begins with growing the economy in a way that reduces carbon emissions from polluters and fossil fuels that dirty our air, harm the health of our families and communities, and hinder our country’s long-term energy independence. My Consumers REBATE Act takes the revenue generated from pricing carbon over time and puts it in the hands of consumers to empower individuals to become more efficient in their energy choices,” said Rep. McNerney. “We must look at climate change, one of the great challenges facing future generations, as an opportunity for America to be the leader of a new clean energy economy. Now is the time to build on the innovative technologies and investments we’ve already made with market-based approaches that will further drive renewable energy production, promote job creation and produce a cleaner environment.”

The Consumers REBATE Act puts a price on carbon extracted from coal, oil, and natural gas and returns that revenue back to the consumer. Under the legislation, the applicable price for taxable carbon is $15/per ton of carbon emission.

The price is paid by the producer, miner, or importer of the oil, coal or natural gas. The U.S. Treasury is instructed to make quarterly payments or reinvestments back to all eligible consumers.

The Consumers REBATE Act is built to increase American innovation and leadership in manufacturing and energy production by including a tariff on goods imported from countries that do not have carbon markets or pricing.

A recent study from Regional Economic Modeling, Inc., released by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, shows that the benefits of a carbon fee and dividend approach include: a 33 percent decline in carbon emissions after 10 years, 52 percent after 20 years; an increase in employment of 2.1 million jobs after 10 years; 13,000 lives saved annually after year 10; and a nearly $80 billion increase in GDP from 2020 forward.

“The world took a great step forward in Paris to bring climate change under control, and the next step needed to ensure success is to put a price on carbon,” said Marti Roach, leader of the Contra Costa Chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby. “Congressman McNerney's bill does that in a way that protects families and helps our economy. Congress can provide leadership for the rest of the world by enacting a market-based solution like this.”

During the recent international climate negotiations, three former cabinet secretaries — George Shultz, Robert Reich and Steven Chu — and four Nobel Economics Laureates also made the argument for taxing carbon emissions.

Furthermore, a recent World Bank report highlighted pricing carbon as one step in reducing emissions in a way that results in investments and maintains a strong economy.

Countries representing a quarter of the world’s economy are establishing carbon markets.

These efforts illustrate that countries can reduce emissions, promote a cleaner environment and boost the economy at the same time.

After California announced a cap on carbon in 2006, more than $12 billion in clean energy venture capital has flown into the state, more than all other states combined, according to information from the Environmental Defense Fund.

Scientists have warned that without taking action to curb the effects of climate change, we will continue to see more severe droughts, storms, and increasingly rising sea levels. Reports have also shown that the effects of climate change will disproportionately affect lower-income communities.

“I am concerned about how communities in my district will feel the effects of climate change. In particular, rising sea levels and stronger storms will greatly increase the risk of flooding in many low-lying towns in Contra Costa and San Joaquin Counties. The Consumers REBATE Act will not only curb emissions to help slow the effects of a changing climate, it will also provide critical economic benefit to low-income families and individuals while improving the health of our communities,” added Rep. McNerney.  

A former wind engineer, Rep. McNerney is an expert in renewable energy and a strong advocate for policies that will reduce carbon emissions, curb the effects of climate change, and spur a growing clean energy economy. Rep. McNerney is a trained scientist and one of only two members of Congress with a technical Ph.D., his in mathematics.

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Rep. Jerry McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.