Press Releases

Van Hollen, Beyer Introduce Cap and Dividend Legislation

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va.) introduced the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act. This ‘cap and dividend’ approach is a simple, fair, and effective plan to address the dangers of climate change. It would put more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans, increasing their spending power and growing our entire economy.

“The dangers of climate change are front and center in our everyday lives and only getting worse — we must take real steps to fight back. The Healthy Climate and Family Security Act caps the amount of carbon emissions, requires polluters to pay, and transmits the proceeds straight into the pockets of American families in the form of a dividend. This bill will spur economic growth and encourage the development of clean technologies. I urge Congress to take up this measure immediately – it’s clear this issue can’t wait,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen.

“The Healthy Climate and Family Security Act is the kind of bold action we need to help save the planet. Our market-based approach to putting a price on carbon would help the US economy adapt quickly by reducing carbon and embracing clean energy. Since we last introduced this legislation, the threat of climate change is worse and the need for bold action more imperative. We also see a sharp rise in engagement on this issue and growing support for ambitious solutions, and I believe our bill deserves a prominent place in that discussion,” said Congressman Beyer.

The Healthy Climate and Family Security Act caps carbon pollution and reduces CO2 emissions gradually but steadily. The legislation would cap emissions at 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and then 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2040 — in keeping with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finding. It auctions carbon pollution permits to the first sellers of oil, coal, and natural gas into the U.S. market, and returns 100 percent of the auction proceeds electronically each quarter to every American in the form of a Healthy Climate Dividend. A University of Massachusetts Amherst study found a ‘cap and divided’ approach would mean more than 80 percent of families would see more money in their pockets, even before taking into account the economic benefits of preventing the costly impacts of climate change.

The dividend approach has received bipartisan support. Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of economic experts including Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, Janet Yellen, George Shultz, Paul Volcker, and Lawrence Summers penned an op-ed in support of putting a price on carbon and giving the dividends to every American. The Washington Post also called this ‘cap and dividend’ proposal “elegant and effective” for its simple and market-based approach.