Initiative Menu: Initiative

Sample Resolution and References

        A draft resolution suitable for a city, town, county or other local government is presented here as a model that can be quickly adapted. The resolution contains many "Whereas" statements so that it is self-explanatory, at least as an outline.

        As written, the resolution calls for the majority of revenues from the tax to be returned, with the remainder of revenues providing financial support for renewables. Alternatively the resolution readily can be modified to call for a revenue-neutral tax with all proceeds returned to the American people.

        For a briefer resolution, the points below could be made available as background material, retaining only a few selected "Whereas" statements. References follow the resolution.

Resolution in support of a federal carbon tax-and-dividend


1)The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that “Most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in human-induced greenhouse gas concentrations,” and the IPCC also predicts probable damages (“Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report”, www.ipcc.ch), and

2)Whereas the United States Congress is considering whether to establish a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade program in order to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and

3)Whereas the outcome of this Congressional debate will affect residents of [town, city, county, or region], and

4)Whereas the costs of trading in emissions, including the fees and commissions extracted by beneficiaries such as traders, brokers, attorneys, and an extensive new regulatory bureaucracy, would pass through to consumers like a tax in the price of energy and through goods and services, and

5)Whereas the uncertainties associated with the volatility of trading in permits to pollute would in all probability prove a deterrent to investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and

6)Whereas the potentially useful feature of cap-and-trade--that the overall total amount of permits to pollute would shrink over time according to a regulatory goal-- would be negated with certain escape clauses such as a “stop price” and borrowing against the future, resulting in invalidation of the rationale for the program, and

7)Whereas the model of trading in emissions of sulfur dioxide to reduce acid rain is not applicable to carbon trading due to the diversity of fossil fuels that would make carbon trading unwieldy, and

8)Whereas effective action requires reducing emissions at the source, not trading off the pressure to reduce emissions by purchasing possibly questionable permits, and

9)Whereas the European experiment in cap-and-trade has been called a failure (see references) in part due to export of responsibility to reduce emissions with the purchase of possibly questionable offsets from abroad, providing historical evidence that cap-and-trade may work substantially less effectively than a federal carbon tax, and

10)Whereas a straightforward federal carbon tax is projected by many economists (see references) to be more efficient than unwieldy emissions trading, and more effective at motivating investments in the U.S. in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources that would create jobs in the U.S. and stimulate the economy, and

11)Whereas a tax would achieve goals for reduction of emissions by consistently motivating reductions, and by applying price-demand modeling as a public policy tool,  whereby the fixed tax rate for each year would be increased according to the goal for reduction in usage of fossil fuels, without the price volatility of permit trading, and

12)Whereas the annual goals for reduction of emissions could be mapped out for decades, for example to ultimately achieve at least 80% reduction from the emissions of 1990 by 2050 as advised by climate scientists, and

13)Whereas a federal carbon tax levied upstream, at the point of first sale after extraction or import of fossil fuels, would minimize the number of entities directly taxed and the expense of monitoring compliance, and

14)Whereas the major part of the proceeds of a tax could be returned, for example as equal dividends to every citizen or through reductions in payroll taxes combined with an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, stimulating the U.S. economy, and

15)Whereas a part of the tax proceeds could fund meritorious projects in the U.S such as energy conservation and the production of energy from renewable sources, creating “green” jobs and supporting local economies, and

16)Whereas the competitive position of the U.S. could be maintained by imposing a border tax tariff on products imported from countries without a carbon tax, and

17)Whereas a carbon tax could be accepted more widely for a worldwide protocol than emissions trading because each country’s revenue from a tax would remain in that country with minimal impact by foreign countries on national sovereignty, and

18)Whereas the Mayors for Climate Protection organization (www.coolmayors.com) has supported Mayors nationwide in their efforts to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets (7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012) in their own communities, now therefore be it

        Resolved that the City Council declares its support for enactment of a federal carbon tax to be levied upstream on fossil fuels, because in all probability the tax would be more effective and less expensive for reducing carbon dioxide emissions than a cap-and-trade scheme; and be it further

        Resolved that the majority of revenues from the tax be returned to the American people, with the remainder of revenues providing financial support for energy conservation and renewable energy programs; and be it further

        Resolved that the City Clerk notify and send copies of this resolution to the Director of the United States Conference of Mayors, 1620 I Street, Northwest-Washington, DC 20006, (202) 861-6700 fax (202) 293-2352, and to Sylvester Johnson, Ph.D., Coordinator of the Initiative for local governments’ resolutions in support of a federal carbon tax, www.federalcarbontax.org, or P.O. Box 146, Brooktondale NY USA 14817-0146, and to the following officials:

•United States Senator ... Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510, (202) …

•United States Senator ... Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510, (202) …

•United States Representative … Rayburn H.O.B., Washington, DC 20515, (202) …

  1. … State Assemblymember … Legislative Office Building, State Capital

  2. … State Senator … Legislative Office Building, State Capital

  3.      Deputy Secretary for the Environment, Office of the Secretary to the Governor, State Capital

This resolution is respectfully submitted by …

Climate Change Action Group of …


Comprehensive resources regarding revenue-neutral carbon taxes versus cap-and-trade, as well as current events, provided by the Carbon Tax Center

For definitions, background information and analysis: www.federalcarbontax.org.

•A very brief explanation of the reasons that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gasses “very likely” are contributing to climate change: the “Human-Induced” section at Climate Change: The Urgency of Emission Reduction.

  1. The failings of the European experiment with cap-and-trade: “Climate Change: Caps vs. Taxes” by Kenneth P. Green for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.26286/pub_detail.asp.

Questions regarding the issues described herein: Sylvester Johnson, Ph.D. Contact Donated phone consultation is available.

  1. “Should We Abandon Cap and Trade in Favor of a CO2 Tax?” by Ian W.H. Parry, Ph.D. Economics, Resources for the Future RFF, Summer 2007 (166) www.rff.org/Documents/RFF-Resources-166_ShouldWeAbandonCapAndTrade.pdf

  2. Congressional Budget Office compares a carbon tax versus trading: PolicyOptionsforReducingCO2Emissions.pdf

  3. California Environmental Justice Coalition's Declaration Against Carbon Trading: www.ejmatters.org

  4. Analysis of results of computer modeling of a tax/rebate approach to energy policy www.epi.org/content.cfm/studies_cleanenergyandjobs.

  5. Price-demand modeling: “Fiscal Interactions and the Case for Carbon Taxes over Grandfathered Carbon Permits” by Ian W.H. Parry, Ph.D. Economics, Resources for the Future RFF 2003 www.rff.org/Documents/RFF-DP-03-46.pdf.

Initiative Menu: Initiative

For a listing of the contents of this website: Site Map