By Kathryn Cullen

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The recent flurry of United Nations, U.S. government and Oregon State University reports on the impact of climate change are clearly making all citizens sit up and ask what we are doing about this clear and present danger.

We thank The Bulletin for publishing so many articles, editorials and letters to the editor on this topic.

The good news is that on Nov. 27, three Democrats and two Republicans introduced a bill to price carbon emissions and give the revenue back to households. Another Republican has since joined as a co-sponsor.

These courageous House members — U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, Francis Rooney, R-Naples, Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Bucks County, Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, John Delaney, D-Potomac, and Dave Trott, R-Birmingham — have set aside party differences to break the impasse on climate change that has stymied solutions for nearly a decade.

The bill, called The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, deserves our support because it has bipartisan support, will be effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and protects low — and middle-income households from price increases.

Simply speaking, this policy puts a fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas where they enter the economy. It starts low, and grows over time.

This will drive down carbon pollution because energy companies, leading industries and American consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options fueled by renewable energy that is not subject to the fee.

The aggressive rate of increase of the fee in this bill guarantees we exceed Clean Power Plan targets, our commitment under the Paris Agreement, and in fact puts us well on the way to a 90 percent reduction below 1990 emissions by 2050.

It would also track closely the United Nations IPCC recommendations for emissions reduction through 2040 in its October 2018 1.5°C report

The money collected from the carbon fee is allocated in equal shares every month to the American households to spend as they see fit.

Program administrative costs are paid from the fees collected. The government does not keep any of the money from the carbon fee.

The 100 percent dividend in this policy ensures that a majority of families in the United States will be compensated for any carbon fee payment, particularly lower-income families. This guarantees long-term support for the policy.

To protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs, imported goods will pay a border carbon adjustment (if coming from a country that does not price carbon), and goods exported from the United States will receive a rebate under this policy (if going to a country that does not price carbon).

The border carbon adjustment provides a real incentive for other countries to match the price in this bill, as a global response is needed to this global problem.

The impact of this legislation will be significant in Central Oregon:

1. It will reduce America’s emissions by 40 percent within 12 years — this will help minimize the long periods of drought and hotter, drier, fire seasons we have been experiencing.

The OSU model predicts higher-than-average drought conditions in Central Oregon over the next 30 years, making us more vulnerable to wildfires.

2. It will improve health and save lives by reducing pollution that Americans breathe, giving our children better air to breathe.

3. This policy encourages innovation in energy production and will create 2.1 million additional jobs over the next 10 years, thanks to growth in the clean energy economy.

4. And finally, it will have minimal impact on our farmers. Since this policy is focused on fossil-fuel emissions, it does not cover things like methane from livestock and manure and nitrous oxide from farming operations.

The bill explicitly states that “non-fossil fuel emissions that occur on a farm” are not subject to the carbon fee. Though it will not move in the lame duck session, the sponsors have pledged to reintroduce this bill in the next Congress.

Join me in strongly urging Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, 2nd Congressional District, to join them in sponsoring this landmark legislation.

— Kathryn Cullen lives in Bend.

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