Christopher “Topher” Anderson has been co-leader of Citizens Climate Lobby Indianapolis for the past 18 months after volunteering and working in the environmental sector of Indianapolis for three years, He is a graduate student at IUPUI’s Lilly School of Philanthropy.
Right now, my newsfeed is blowing up with news, petitions, and excitement over House Resolution 109, co-authored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, “Green New Deal” resolutions.
I’m excited that these objectives are again ringing through the halls of Washington, D.C. with the energy and groundswell necessary to create transformative environmental legislation. The damage that climate change will cause to our economy, our prosperity, and our health is beyond undeniable at this point. But even more, I’m excited that the foundational piece of legislation to address climate change, create jobs, and reduce income inequality was quietly introduced a month before the headline-breaking resolution.
This foundational legislation is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, or H.R. 763.If passed into law, this bill would put a small, steadily-increasing price on greenhouse gases and return all of that money to every American household, essentially like a tax return in the mail. This monthly income would create local jobs and protect lower-middle income families from rising energy costs. And in line with the objectives of the Green New Deal, it effectively reduces carbon emissions as mandated by the United Nation’s most recent climate change report: 30 percent reductions by 2030 and 90 percent reductions by 2050.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is the best first step in any “New Deal” because it has the three hallmarks of successful transformational legislation. First, it’s a bipartisan bill, which is crucial for turning ideas into law during divided government. Second, it’s supported by the majority of Americans, as shown when 70 percent of Americans (64 percent of Hoosiers) said they would support similar legislation in a 2018 Yale survey.And lastly, it costs the American taxpayer $0, so lawmakers have no reason they can’t put it in place immediately.
As a proud lifelong Hoosier, I hope that our common sense, bipartisan values will be included in a national solution. If we do this right by starting with H.R. 763, what’s appearing as “the Green New Deal” in my newsfeed will go down in history books as the real deal.