Kansas City Missouri Endorses Carbon Fee and Dividend

On May 23, 2019, the City Council of Kansas City, Mo. unanimously approved a resolution endorsing a national revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend system to reduce US carbon emissions.  With this resolution’s approval, Kansas City joins over 100 other cities nationwide with similar resolutions. all the result of advocacy by Citizens Climate Lobby volunteers.

Here in Kansas City, contact and advocacy efforts began in the summer of 2017 with the Environmental Management Commission, a volunteer advisory board to the mayor and city council.  In Dec., 2017, the EMC provided a letter to them, expressing qualified support for CCL-KC’s proposal.

In 2018, a four person CCL-KC volunteer team met with nearly all of the members of the city council, providing education and advocacy on carbon fee and dividend.  Kathryn Shields was the primary sponsor of the city resolution 190420, passed on May 23, 2019, and it states:

Section 1

That the Mayor and Council express their support for a national revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend system to fulfill our collective obligation under the Paris Agreement

Section 2

That the Mayor and Council strongly urge the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that deals effectively with our climate crisis, specifically a national revenue-neutral fee and dividend system to rapidly reduce U.S. carbon emissions, and that the legislation be written in such a manner as to ensure that all fees collected are returned directly to families and households and that our most economically vulnerable citizens will not be financially harmed.  (cityclerk.kcmo.org/LiveWeb/Meetings/CombinedAgenda.aspx)

The City Clerk is instructed to send copies to the President, the Missouri Congressional delegation, and other local, state, and national leaders.

With passage of this resolution, Kansas City, Mo. becomes the only major metro area in the Heartland of America to officially endorse a national carbon fee and dividend system.

Internationally, carbon pricing is widely recognized as an essential step in reducing carbon emissions.  The World Bank Carbon Pricing Panel, in their April, 2016 speeches and transcripts document, Setting a Transformational Vision for 2020 and Beyond state:

“Carbon pricing has a key role to play, as one of the most effective measures available to reduce climate pollution at the scale and pace the science demands.”  (www.worldbank.org/en/news/speech/2016/04/21/carbonpricingpanel—setting-a-transformatinal-vision-for-2020-and-beyond)

According to the April, 2016, joint paper, Carbon Pricing, The Paris Agreement’s Key Ingredient, 90 countries,

“…expressed an interest in using carbon markets to reach their emission reduction targets.”

Each country submitted an INDC, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions,  as their pledge to the Paris Agreement.  (www.ieta.org/resources/Resources/Reports/Carbon-Pricing-The-Paris-Agreements-Key-Ingredient.pdf)

Currently, there is a bill in the Congressional House, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which would implement a national carbon fee and dividend system, if passed.  CCL strongly supports this bill, since the primary elements are similar to CCL’s proposal.  The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is designed to reduce U.S. carbon emissions 40% in the first 12 years, 90% by 2050, has exemptions for agriculture and the military, and has a sunset clause.  A full 100% of all funds collected from fossil fuel corporations is returned to all U.S. citizens to financially shield the lower and middle income groups from the increased cost of living.

To be absolutely clear, the City Council of Kansas City, Mo. endorsed the concept of a revenue-neutral national carbon fee and dividend system, not the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act specifically.  To learn more, go to the Citizens Climate Lobby website, citizensclimatelobby.org.

Dave Mitchell

CCL-KC Leader