Climate Hawks Vote announces its final two endorsements in fall 2014 races: incumbent Chris Van Hollen, in Maryland’s 8th district, and Dave Peiser, challenging Darrell Issa in California’s 49th district. Both have earned our support for their carbon pricing ideas.
The most interesting bill introduced in the 13th Congress from a climate hawk perspective is that by Chris Van Hollen. HR 5271, the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act, caps fossil fuel pollution and auctions off permits, to return the proceeds to the American people. The bill will encourage energy conservation and a shift to renewable energy, while American families will benefit in forms both intangible - cleaner air and water - and practical - “pay to the order of” checks. Details are at the Climate and Prosperity website.
We score every bill introduced in Congress affecting climate, whether or not they’re given a chance of passing, for a few reasons. Bills introduced spark the national conversation. They can serve as trial balloons this Congress to pass in a later Congress. And occasionally we’re surprised, as in the case of climate hawk Matt Cartwright’s energy efficiency for schools bill, HR 4092. We rank bills from core to peripheral. Chris’ cap-and-dividend bill is, obviously, core to our mission of scoring leadership on climate. And if it passes it can mean the difference between a healthy planet and a perilous future.
We’ll be updating our House Democrats’ climate leadership scorecard after the election (and finishing the Senate scorecard, and catching up on sleep). Our preliminary eyeballing indicates that HR 5271 will put Chris Van Hollen into the top 10% of climate leaders. Thus, he’s earned our endorsement.
We’re also endorsing Dave Peiser for a slightly different approach: his platform highlights a carbon rebate, paid for by a tax on carbon polluters. Dave has made climate central to his campaign, and his website shows a thorough grasp of climate issues from carbon tax to an end to fossil fuel subsidies to green jobs. If elected, he’d embody the grassroots Citizens Climate Lobby. And we must confess: we like anyone willing to challenge Darrell Issa, who made “Solyndra” into a dirty word for a couple of years without a shred of evidence supporting his claims. Voters in the 49th District: Fire Issa, Hire Peiser!
Carbon tax and cap-and-dividend proponents, note: we’ve previously endorsed Ted Lieu (CA-33), who has promised that his first bill introduced will be a variation on the theme of cap-and-trade - Waxman-Markey, or California’s AB-32. The question how best to price carbon is a meaningful debate worthy of the dignity of the 114th Congress, instead of the asinine “I’m not a parakeet” disavowals routinely issued by the current crop of Congressional Republicans.