The Brookings Institution said Tuesday that a carbon tax could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen federal budget shortfalls. The National Association of Manufacturers, meanwhile, released a study that found a carbon tax would hurt the economy. Sen. Bernie Sanders disputed the manufacturers’ lobby. He pointed to ways his legislation on climate change would help business, create jobs and save billions of dollars spent on disaster relief. “The price that America cannot afford to pay is the price of doing nothing to reverse global warming,” he said.
Sanders recently introduced climate change legislation that is co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
The insurance industry has warned about the escalating costs to taxpayers, homeowners and businesses as a result of increasingly frequent natural disasters caused by extreme weather. Already this year, Congress approved $60 billion to help New York and New Jersey recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Climate change has contributed to a five-fold increase in weather disasters such as extreme heat waves, drought, storms, and flooding in North America since 1980, according to a new study from Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurance company. The average weather-related insurance industry loss in the U.S. was about $3 billion a year in the 1980s compared to approximately $20 billion annually by the end of the past decade, according to a report for the Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd.
In addition to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the risk of escalating costs from more severe weather disasters, the legislation proposed by Sanders and Boxer would help American manufacturers and create jobs.
The bill calls for $75 billion to be invested over 10 years to help manufacturers in America invest in energy efficiency to save money and make them more competitive. It also would invest $10 billion over 10 years for job-training programs for workers in new energy technologies.
The Sanders-Boxer bill also would make massive investments in weatherization of homes and businesses. More than 90 percent of products used to weatherize homes in America are produced by U.S. manufacturers. Their legislation also would extend for five years a clean energy manufacturing credit that provides a 30 percent tax credit to U.S. manufacturers that invest in new facilities to manufacture clean technologies
To keep American businesses competitive, the legislation includes a border tariff to protect domestic manufacturers by making sure countries that export to the United States, like China, pay the same fee on fuels and products shipped to America that domestic industries pay. This ensures there is no competitive disadvantage from the move to carbon pricing in America.