We believe these seven elements are critical to effective U.S. climate legislation:
Science Based Targets:
Select annual targets for U.S. emission reductions consistent with peer-reviewed science, which shows that rapid reductions in fossil fuel emissions are needed to return to safe levels of atmospheric CO2, below 350 parts per million.
Carbon Fees and Rebates (Green Checks):
Impose gradually rising carbon fees on fossil fuels as they enter the economy, sufficient to ensure that clean energy (such as wind, solar and geothermal) becomes cost-competitive with fossil fuels within a decade. Return all revenues from carbon fees in monthly per-person rebate checks to all American households, so that everyone can afford the energy they need during the transition to efficient use of clean energy.
Maintain EPA Authority:
Preserve EPA's existing authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.
Enact New Complementary Regulatory Programs:
Supplement EPA’s existing authority with strengthened energy-efficiency regulation, protection of natural forests and improved agricultural practices that favor clean energy and conservation of resources.
Public Investment to Remove Barriers to an Efficient, Clean-Energy Economy:
Shift subsidies from fossil fuels and make additional investments that will assist with a rapid transition to efficiency and clean energy, including improved public transit, improved energy transmission-line infrastructure, and energy research and development.
Assist Developing Countries with a Rapid Transition to Clean Energy:
U.S. efforts alone cannot prevent catastrophic climate change. U.S. assistance and appropriate incentives are needed to insure a rapid transition to clean energy in developing countries.
Annual Evaluations of the Progress:
Annual evaluations are crucial to determine whether science-based targets are met and whether these targets need to be modified. Annual reports should also identify the additional measures needed to assure the success of the program. These reports should provide specific recommendations and be subject to public comment.