The Boston City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday, May 12, to pass a Resolution Urging Congress to Enact the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 2307. Boston joins 136 other local governments who endorse the legislation, including Los Angeles County, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Miami, Pittsburgh, and New Haven, CT. The resolution was introduced by Lydia Edwards of East Boston and Matt O’Malley of West Roxbury.
“This urges Congress to move and to help us become more carbon net neutral, and also put money in the pockets of Americans. I think it’s something that we can all agree: that we need more of both,” said Councilor Edwards as she introduced the resolution.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 2307, would establish a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund that would send equal per capita payments monthly to every American. The dividends would be funded by a steadily rising fee on fossil fuels based on the amount of polluting greenhouse gases emitted when burned. Studies show that 95% of the poorest 40% of American households would receive more than they could face in increased energy costs, and 68% of all U.S. households would come out ahead.
The carbon fee would send a clear predictable signal to capital markets and businesses, spurring American innovation in energy and transportation. The plan is predicted to decrease emissions by 30% in the first five years, and put the United States on track to meet its Paris Agreement commitment of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Decreased emissions as projected in the bill would improve health, especially those most burdened by air pollution currently. It is estimated it will save 4.5 million American lives over the next 50 years.
“I am delighted that the city council is supporting this bill, making decisions geared towards protecting the environment and improving the long term health of Bostonians,” said Matt Lok, Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer from Brighton.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act was first introduced in the 115th congress by bipartisan groups in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Reintroduced in the 116th congress, it gained 86 cosponsors in the House. The current version of the bill was introduced last month with more original cosponsors than any other carbon pricing bill has achieved. As of May 14 it has 56 cosponsors, including Seth Moulton of Massachusetts District 6 and Jake Auchencloss of District 4.
Councilor O’Malley emphasized, “As I have said time and time again, every fiscal conservative ought to be an environmentalist, because this is just another example where doing the right thing for the planet will also help benefit the economy.”