President Obama's next steps for a Carbon Tax
During Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama outlined his views on the need to address climate change, hinting that he'd like Congress to pursue a bill similar to that proposed by Senators John McCain and Joe Liebermann:
I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago.
The Nation reports that on Thursday, Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer will announce major legistlation addressing carbon pollution:
Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer will outline the legislation on Thursday morning. Details are scant, though it’s being billed as “major” and “comprehensive” legislation, and will have a carbon tax, per a statement from Sanders’s office:
Under the legislation, a fee on carbon pollution emissions would fund historic investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. The proposal also would provide rebates to consumers to offset any efforts by oil, coal or gas companies to raise prices.
Since it seems unlikely that the Republican-led House will pass anything the Senate may happen to agree on, it was what Obama said next that will likely be the driving force for progress on climate:
I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
Zack Beauchamp at Think Progress lists the six executive orders President Obama can issue if Congress fails to act on his agenda. Here's what he can do regarding climate:
3. Climate Change: The Post reports that the President is thinking of expanding two first term climate change executive actions; emission standards for power plants imposed under the Clean Air Act and the Better Buildings Initiative. The former standards currently only applies to new power plants; after these are finalized, the President is “considering moving beyond that effort toward regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants.” The latter is an initiative to improve buildings’ energy efficiency. These two moves, however, only scratch the surface of potential executive actions on climate change.
If you'd like to read all of the Presidents State of the Union proposals, Wonkblog has embedded the policy fact-sheets. Also at Wonkblog is a series of charts illustrating things the President spoke about.