Why San Francisco Democrats Should Support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

My (intended) public comment in favor of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee’s climate resolution

On February 27, 2019, the SF DCCC voted unanimously in favor of a Resolution Urging Congress to Pass a National Fee on Fossil Fuels and Hold Hearings on the Green New Deal, which “urges the United States Congress to enact without delay H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019.” I arrived to the meeting too late to deliver a public comment, but this is the statement I had intended to read. I encourage other San Francisco organizations, including the Board of Supervisors, to pass similar resolutions.

My name is Max Ghenis, and I’m a member of the San Francisco Citizens Climate Lobby, here in support of the resolution calling on Congress to pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. I believe this bill would combat the two most pressing challenges facing the country and San Francisco: climate change and poverty.

Climate change is not abstract to me: my brother researches the interaction between climate change and disability, and has found climate change disproportionately affects people with disabilities, both in climate disasters — for example, difficulty evacuating wildfire zones — and gradual issues like having to spend more on life-saving air conditioning. He himself has a disability, as do other members of my family.

Nor is poverty abstract: my grandparents immigrated to the US late in their lives, and without much Social Security earnings, they live mostly on SSI, a meager cash assistance program. 19 percent of Californians live in poverty — a higher share than in any other state — and San Francisco’s homelessness crisis has shown that our strong economy has not made us immune to this problem.

A carbon dividend would be an effective tool for addressing both of these issues. The now-famous IPCC report estimates that a steep carbon fee could keep us below 1.5-degree warming, even without other policies, and a 300-dollar-per-month dividend would alleviate some of low-income families’ financial hardships. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is an aggressive, proven climate solution, which would also get us on the right trajectory for fighting poverty, homelessness, and inequality. It would be good for the planet and good for San Franciscans, and passing this resolution would demonstrate commitment to our shared values. Please vote in favor, thank you.

Resolution unanimously supported by the SF DCCC on February 27, 2019

Economist. Founder and president of the UBI Center. Studied at MIT and UC Berkeley. YIMBY. Former Google data scientist.

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