Guidance on the future of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

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The future of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is uncertain so we are shifting our focus to building support for carbon fee and dividend in its most basic form and broad support for carbon pricing and climate action. 

TOC and Guide Section
Future of the Energy Innovation Act

For years, Citizens’ Climate Lobby advocated for carbon fee and dividend based on a two-page outline of how such legislation could work, tirelessly building support among the public and key influencers, and then bringing that support to Congress directly and through the media.

In 2018, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act was introduced with bipartisan cosponsors, and largely embodied the principles in our original outline. The Energy Innovation Act was then reintroduced into Congress in 2019 and 2021, and through the dedicated work of CCL volunteers, eventually 96 members of Congress signed on, the most of any carbon pricing bill ever. 

This led, in 2021, to the principles of carbon fee and dividend being seriously considered as part of the reconciliation bill. A well-timed drumbeat of targeted calls, emails, lobby meetings, social media posts, and on-the-ground support across the country led to carbon pricing being just one vote shy of inclusion in the package. 

As we move forward, we will continue our advocacy for carbon fee and dividend, but it is not yet clear whether the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act will be reintroduced or not, given that the lead sponsor is leaving Congress. It played a vital role in the 2021-2022 Congress, but it may be that in the future a different bill or group of bills is more strategic for the next period of time. For instance, we may focus on advocating for the introduction of a bipartisan carbon pricing bill in the Senate, or there may be multiple carbon pricing bills that we support at various levels. Much of this will depend on the results of the 2022 election, and the best path for our advocacy may not become clear until well into 2023.

Given that, we are now refocusing our grassroots efforts on building support for carbon fee and dividend in its most basic form, as well as building broad support for carbon pricing and climate action. Our overall goals have not changed, but we must adjust our tactics as the dynamics in Congress change, and this will give us the most flexibility to adapt our advocacy to be most effective.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is CCL still advocating for carbon fee and dividend?

Yes. 100% yes.

Carbon pricing vs. carbon fee and dividend vs. carbon cashback - which term should we use?

CCL’s preferred policy is a fee on carbon with all revenue returned to households and a border adjustment to allow for fair global competition. We are currently using both “carbon fee and dividend” and “carbon cashback” in our public messaging, and you can use both or either one in your work for now. We are doing further research and analysis to see if one or the other will be most effective for us, and we will provide additional guidance on that when we have it.

We also sometimes advocate for “carbon pricing” more generally, and it’s fine to use that phrase as well. While we prefer the breadth and simplicity of carbon fee and dividend, we know that other forms of carbon pricing can also be effective pieces of a climate solutions package. We are open to supporting other climate pollution pricing policies if they provide meaningful emissions reductions, support households, provide a level playing field with other countries, and are politically viable in the near term. 

Should I continue to seek endorsements for the Energy innovation and Carbon Dividend Act?

If you are most of the way through a process in getting an endorsement, it is fine to complete that process (e.g. with a municipal resolution). Otherwise we recommend that you start seeking endorsements for carbon fee and dividend. We will be providing a new system for collecting such endorsements soon.
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