WASHINGTON (JUNE 20, 2017)—The Climate Leadership Council (CLC) has introduced an innovative proposal for a federal “carbon dividend.” The plan calls for a substantial, gradually rising, revenue-neutral carbon tax with the revenue distributed to citizens. WRI, which has conducted extensive research on carbon pricing options and economic growth and has long advocated for a significant price on carbon, is a Strategic Partner of the Council.

Today the CLC unveiled its list of Founding Members. Included are such leading companies as General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo and Proctor and Gamble, and three of the world’s biggest energy companies, BP, ExxonMobile and Royal Dutch Shell. Individual Founding Members include James Baker III (Secretary of Treasury under President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State under George H. W. Bush), former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, physicist Stephen Hawking, George Shultz (former Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan) and Greg Mankiw (Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President George W. Bush), Gregory Page (Executive Chairman of Cargill, Inc.) and Rob Walton (former Chairman of Walmart).

Following is a statement by Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute:

“The Climate Leadership Council is bringing bold, fresh thinking to the question of how to reduce U.S. carbon emissions in way that is efficient, effective and politically viable. The proposal offers the possibility for a bipartisan approach to addressing climate change in a pro-market, pro-growth manner.”

“I am delighted that the Council has enlisted such prominent companies and individuals as Founding Members. As a CLC Strategic Partner, WRI looks forward to helping to shape and advance the Coalition’s proposal, which has the potential to benefit the economy and rapidly cut U.S. emissions that are exacerbating climate change.”

“A $40 price per ton on carbon, rising in a predictable way, could be the centerpiece of U.S. action and leadership on climate. WRI analysis suggests it could be good for jobs and good for the climate.”

“In bringing together major companies with prominent thinkers and policy experts across the political spectrum in support of this proposal, the CLC is delivering a clear message to elected officials in Washington: putting a price on carbon is a powerful tool for unleashing markets to strengthen the U.S. economy and rapidly reduce carbon emissions. President Trump and Congress would do well to heed these voices and put in place policies like the CLC proposal to achieve these twin goals.”

“To avoid backsliding, existing carbon reduction policies should continue until a carbon price is put in place that will produce greater emissions reductions. In addition, complementary policies addressing other market failures and non-carbon greenhouse gasses will be needed.”

“While a nation-wide price on carbon may seem far off in the U.S., it is gaining traction around the world. Nearly 40 countries and more than 20 sub-national jurisdictions are now pricing carbon. There is also strong and rising support for carbon taxes among the American public, including more than two-thirds of all Americans and more than half of Republicans.”

“We are confident that what seems impossible in the U.S. will soon seem inevitable. Common sense tends to finally win out.”

To learn more about the proposal and WRI's perspective, read the blog post "Carbon Dividend Coalition Grows, Raising Hopes for Rapid Emissions Cuts."