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New Push for a Federal Carbon Tax Takes Shape

Democrats in Congress have returned to long-stalled efforts to craft a federal carbon-pricing scheme. With Obama having indicated in his State of the Union that climate change would be a focus of his administration, is there hope for progress?
March 14, 2013, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Following in the wake of "a casual off-the-record meeting with a diverse group of energy and climate change experts" at the White House last week and President Obama’s "climate-centric State of the Union and inaugural addresses," there seems to be growing momentum for another push at sweeping climate change legislation, reports Tim McDonnell. Two groups of democratic lawmakers have signaled their intent to introduce carbon-pricing bills.

"Last month, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced plans to introduce a bill this spring to place a $20-per-ton tax on CO2, a move they argue could raise $1.2 trillion over the next decade. And today, Rep. Waxman, along with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), hopped on the bandwagon with their own draft carbon-pricing scheme."

The Waxman led effort is more amorphous at the moment, and the sponsoring lawmakers are "soliciting public comments for how big the tax should be and how best to rebate the money." At The Washington Post, Brad Plumer details the questions under consideration for the final bill, and some potential answers.

"Franz Matzner, a government affairs analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said despite the bad track record for past bills like this, now isn’t the time to be cynical."

“Waxman and the others have done exactly the right thing in putting this bill out,” he said, “and reminding Congress that there’s important work to be done on their end for climate change.”

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Published on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 in Grist
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