This report represents the research and views of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of the Center on Global Energy Policy. The piece may be subject to further revision. Contributions to SIPA for the benefit of CGEP are general use gifts, which gives the Center discretion in how it allocates these funds. More information is available at Our Partners. Rare cases of sponsored projects are clearly indicated. For a full list of financial supporters of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA, please visit our website at Our Partners. See below a list of members that are currently in CGEP’s Visionary Annual Circle.
(This list is updated periodically)
Breakthrough Energy LLC
Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF)
The Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs launched a Carbon Tax Research Initiative in 2018 with the goal of enabling the design and thoughtful consideration of federal carbon tax policy in the United States. The initiative is a collaboration among scholars at CGEP, the broader Columbia University faculty, and independent external experts. This paper is a collaboration between CGEP and Rhodium Group, an independent research provider.
Growing public concern about the social, economic, and environmental impacts of climate change, along with pressure for lawmakers to introduce policy proposals that reduce emissions, have brought carbon taxes to the center of policy discussions on Capitol Hill. Thus far in 2019, seven different carbon tax legislative proposals have been introduced in Congress. The proposal with the most cosponsors, totaling 64 Democrats and 1 Republican as of the end of September 2019, is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA), introduced in February 2019 by lead sponsor Ted Deutch (D-FL). This study assesses the potential impacts of EICDA on the US energy system, environment, and economy.
EICDA establishes a fee on each ton of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It covers over 80 percent of gross national emissions. The fee starts at $15 per metric ton and increases by $10 or $15 each year, depending on future emissions levels. Revenue raised by the carbon fee is used for “carbon dividends,” a rebate to every eligible US citizen or lawful resident. The bill also includes measures to protect US competitiveness and to reduce the risk that companies will relocate their operations to a different country with laxer climate laws. Through the carbon fee and additional regulations if necessary, EICDA targets 90 percent emissions reductions by 2050 compared to 2016 levels.
This study is part of a joint effort by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) and Rhodium Group to help policymakers, journalists, and other stakeholders understand the important decisions associated with the design of carbon tax policies and the implications of these decisions. This analysis uses a version of the National Energy Modeling System maintained by the Rhodium Group (RHG-NEMS) to quantify the energy and environmental implications of EICDA, focusing on outcomes through 2030. Supplemental analyses provide insights on how EICDA would affect households, the economy, and government budgets.
The following are key results:
A significant gap exists globally between the financing needed and the current level of spending to meet net-zero goals.
Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries are among the most vulnerable in the world to climate change, experiencing at least one extreme weather-related event per country, on average, every three years over the past two decades.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandates the blending of biofuels into the US transportation fuel mix.
Rapidly accumulating knowledge in any scientific discipline requires building on the knowledge that has been developed to date.