A price on carbon is a critical step to mitigating climate change, as it has the power to spur the transition to a 100% clean energy economy. But any carbon pricing policy must be grounded in science and justice. We stand behind these core principles when designing or evaluating policy:
- Be strong and grow over time. To reach the emission reduction levels that the vast majority of scientists say we need to achieve climate stability, the price per ton of pollution must be high enough to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The price must rise predictably year over year to incentivize behavior change among consumers, investors, and businesses.
- Cast a Wide Net. All greenhouse gases should be considered for the pricing policy, not just carbon dioxide. All sectors of the economy possible should be subject to the price in order to avoid market distortion and policy failure.
- Be just and equitable. A carbon price alone is regressive. Carbon pricing policy should incorporate measures to protect those people most vulnerable to short term rising fossil fuel prices, including low-income households and workers transitioning from heavily fossil fuel dependent industries.
- Enforce a durable price. No interest groups directly benefitting from carbon price revenue or harmed by fossil fuel price increase should be permitted to control price levels, price schedule, or exceptions. For example, general fund or long term program reliance on carbon pricing revenue may lead to powerful political disincentives to eliminate fossil fuel consumption.