A new European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) called “The fast, fair and effective solution to climate change” was launched on May 6. The proposal asks that the European Commission introduce a carbon-pricing policy known as Carbon Fee and Dividend at the European Union level. The European Commission registered the proposal earlier this month.
Organizers behind the initiative now have one year until May 6, 2020 to gather the 1 million signatures needed for the European Commission to consider the proposal.
Scientists and economists agree: Putting an increasing price on pollution and giving the returns to households works. A steadily increasing price on fossil fuels will reduce pollution by leading companies and consumers to choose cleaner, cheaper options. All money collected would be returned fairly and for example every month to citizens as a dividend. Most low- and middle-income families will be better off by this policy.
The European Citizens’ Initiative is a democratic instrument that enables every European citizen to shape policy by submitting a legislative proposal. If at least one million signatures are collected for a citizens’ initiative, the Commission has to examine the proposal and indicate the steps it will take.
“We’re at a turning point in history,” says Brigitte Van Gerven, spokesperson for the Initiative. “After years of apathy for the climate problem, people have awakened, thanks to the actions of Greta Thunberg and the climate strikers. The challenge now is to convert this energy into a strong and ambitious climate policy.”
As a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Carbon Fee and Dividend was implemented earlier this year in Canada, where citizens have already received their “Climate Action Incentive” checks. In the United States, carbon-fee-and-dividend legislation has been introduced by members of both parties as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
The policy is a concrete, realistic and financially feasible policy that is budget neutral for the government. Moreover, it is socially just, since it is not a tax increase, but a green tax shift – a redistribution from those who pollute a lot to those who pollute less.
This policy puts a fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. It starts low, and grows steadily over time. This will drive down carbon pollution because companies, industries, the public sector and consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options. The carbon fee is based on the economic principle that if you want less of something you increase the price. Learn more about the Carbon Fee here.
The money collected from the carbon fee is returned every month to citizens to spend as they see fit. Program administrative costs are paid from the fees collected. Governments do not keep any of the money from the carbon fee. The dividend is designed to keep the economy in balance, protect the vulnerable and secure the long term public support needed to address climate change. Learn more about the Carbon Dividend here.
Border Carbon Adjustments
Border Carbon Adjustments protect EU manufacturers and jobs from unfair international competition that lacks a carbon price. Imported goods will pay a border carbon adjustment, and goods exported from the EU will receive a refund under this policy. The Border Carbon Adjustment (BCA) is designed to address two key challenges: protecting EU industry from unfair competition and promoting wider adoption of effective carbon pricing. Learn more about Border Carbon Adjustments here.
For more information and references, please check out the details provided in this PDF.
So, if you are a citizen of a European Union member state and if you’d like to get carbon fee and dividend implemented across Europe, please consider signing the ECI here. And then tell others about it!
The ECI for a fast, fair and effective solution to climate change is being organised by a committee of Citizens’s Climate Lobby (CCL) members in Europe. The author of this blog post is active in the German chapter of CCL where it’s known as Bürgerlobby Klimaschutz. She also fulfills the role of volunteer regional coordinator for Europe. To learn more about CCL, please check out the earlier post “Pushing for a price on carbon globally“