The Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2018 represents a simple, common sense, “cap and dividend” approach to addressing climate change that achieves aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reductions while supporting vibrant economic growth and a thriving middle class.
Introduced by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in the Senate and Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) in the House, the bill requires CO2 emissions reductions of 20% by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050 below 2005 levels. It caps fossil fuels, requires energy companies to purchase pollution permits at auction, and returns all the auction revenue in equal amounts to every U.S. resident with a valid Social Security number.
By putting a price on carbon, the bill encourages energy conservation, energy efficiency and a shift to clean, renewable sources of energy. U.S. families will benefit both economically and environmentally from cleaner air and water and land, millions of jobs created in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and money in family bank accounts during the transition.
Facts About the Bill
To accomplish these goals, the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act:
- Sets a declining cap for carbon dioxide emissions starting in 2018 that leads to a total reduction of 80% below 2005 levels by 2050, and directs the EPA to use the Clean Air Act and other authorities to make additional reductions in non-carbon greenhouse gases no later than ten years after enactment of the Act.
- Charges the Secretary of the Treasury with auctioning carbon permits under the cap to the first sellers of oil, coal and natural gas into the United States market, and requires the first sellers of oil, coal and natural gas into the United States market to surrender annually to the Treasury a quantity of permits equivalent to the metric tons of carbon dioxide released by the combustion of covered fuels sold no later than April 1 of the following year.
- Deposits carbon permit auction proceeds into a Healthy Climate Trust Fund at the Treasury and instructs the Treasury to distribute auction proceeds quarterly on a pro-rata basis in the form of a Healthy Climate Dividend to every lawful resident of the United States with a valid Social Security number.
- Ensures auction integrity and eliminates speculation by limiting auction participation only to entities with compliance obligations under the Act. Permits trading of carbon permits exclusively between entities with compliance obligations. Allows banking of carbon permits for future year compliance obligations. Establishes a carbon permit reserve to ensure stable auction pricing.
- Includes border adjustment provisions to ensure U.S. manufacturers are not disadvantaged when competing against companies operating in countries without equivalent greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements.
- Expresses the Sense of the Congress that the United States should work proactively under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other appropriate fora to establish binding agreements committing all major greenhouse gas emitting countries and countries with globally competitive producers of carbon-intensive goods to contribute equitably to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions on a schedule and order of magnitude necessary to stabilize the climate.