Barack Obama keeps on promising that, despite years of inaction, while he provided special breaks to encourage more drilling for petroleum and other dirty fossil fuels, he will eventually do something to confront the growing crisis of climate change.
Right now, the American people pay the costs of carbon pollution. Individual taxpayers contribute to the price of disaster relief, while the companies that create most of the pollution don’t pay a dime. The Boxer-Sanders bills would change that, shifting some of the tremendous economic cost of carbon dioxide to the ultimate fossil fuel industry sources of that pollution, creating a charge of $20 per ton of carbon dioxide released, an amount to be increased to keep pace with inflation every year. The bills would also increase safeguards on the controversial practice of extraction of natural gas through horizontal fracturing – fracking, and raise 1.2 trillion dollars to pay for improved weatherization of one million homes per year, increased research and development in clean energy alternatives, public-private partnerships in efficient energy and transportation projects, and a clean energy rebate program to give American citizens a share of the carbon fee, actually putting money in Americans’ pockets to help them pay for the damage caused by climate change as a result of the burning of fossil fuels.
The economic stimulation resulting from the development paid for from the carbon fee would be paired with a $300 billion dollar reduction of the federal debt over the next decade alone, and providing additional debt reduction in subsequent years.
The Boxer-Sanders legislation would establish economic stimulus, fiscally responsible debt reduction and slow down the growth of climate change.
So, here’s the test for Barack Obama: There is now a strong climate bill in Congress. Will President Obama declare his support for the legislation, and push the Democratic leadership in the Senate to bring the bill to a full floor vote… or will President Obama allow the climate legislation to wither, the way he did last time?
Of course, Barack Obama isn’t the only person being tested by the legislation introduced by Bernard Sanders and Barbara Boxer. You are being tested too. Will you take the time to call your two senators and tell them you want them to cosponsor and vote for the Climate Protection Act and the Sustainable Energy Act, or will you ignore the bills and allow them to wither?