The Time For Climate Action Is Now - Honolulu Civil Beat

About the Authors

Noel Morin

Noel Morin is a civic leader and environmental advocate. He is with Citizens’ Climate Lobby Hawaii.

John Kawamoto

John Kawamoto is a member of Faith Action for Community Equity and a former legislative analyst.

Paul Bernstein

Paul Bernstein is an economist with UH Manoa and a member of Citizens' Climate Lobby Hawaii.

We are witnessing and experiencing the signs and symptoms of the climate crisis. Global-warming emissions continue to rise, and the ever-escalating consequences of this crisis affect our daily lives with stronger storms, rain bombs, floods, coastal erosion, degraded marine ecosystems, wildfires and droughts.

Other effects may be less noticeable but are just as devastating, for example, species threatened by habitat destruction and the spread of vectors; island nations threatened by rising seas; climate-related mass migration of people and increased geopolitical conflict from resource competition and migration.

The growing list of environmental, social and economic consequences demands that we act with the urgency of an emergency.

While there are many solutions to the crisis, we need to focus on ones that will have an immediate and significant impact. A price on carbon is one such solution. Its ability to dramatically and quickly reduce emissions is recognized by many economists, institutions and governments.

Its ability to be implemented immediately without facing court challenges is a critical advantage over regulatory policies.

The international community has long supported a price on carbon. Eight of the top 10 global economies already do so; the United States and India still have not. Notably, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calls out carbon pricing as a “necessary condition of ambitious climate policies.”

Across our nation, there is strong and broad support for carbon pricing. Supporters include former Federal Reserve chairs, Nobel Laureate economists, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the Electric Power Supply Association, the American Petroleum Institute, major faith organizations, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Honolulu Harbor fuel tanks.
Fuel tanks in Honolulu. The authors argue that passing carbon taxes is an immediate step the nations of the world can take to address climate change. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Locally, awareness and support for carbon pricing are growing. The recently published UHERO carbon pricing study concluded that a carbon fee and dividend policy is progressive, effective at reducing emissions and equitable.

H.R. 2307 Is The NOW!

On Apr. 1, 2021, H.R. 2307 (Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act) was reintroduced in the U.S. Congress by Florida Rep. Ted Deutch and 28 original co-sponsors (there are now 35).

This bill calls for a meaningful and steadily increasing price on carbon and a monthly “carbon cash back” payment to people. This payment helps offset the price increase in fossil energy and, on average, leaves the lower 60% of households financially better off.

Consumers can also shift to lower carbon products and activities. In addition, the rising price on carbon will incentivize companies to invest in less carbon-intensive processes, switch to renewable energy and ultimately find energy solutions that will reduce the carbon intensity of their products and services.

This policy’s net impact will be a dramatic transformation to a clean energy economy in which we will reduce our nation’s carbon emissions by 30% in the first five years and be on a path toward Net Zero by 2050.

It will also save lives by reducing the pollution in the air that we breathe. This policy benefits our people, the environment and the economy. We urge our leaders to support carbon fee and dividend legislation. It represents the “biggest fire hose” in our fight to put out the fire.

Learn more about H.R.2307 and what you can do to encourage passage of the bill at

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About the Authors

Noel Morin

Noel Morin is a civic leader and environmental advocate. He is with Citizens’ Climate Lobby Hawaii.

John Kawamoto

John Kawamoto is a member of Faith Action for Community Equity and a former legislative analyst.

Paul Bernstein

Paul Bernstein is an economist with UH Manoa and a member of Citizens' Climate Lobby Hawaii.

Latest Comments (0)

How can anyone believe a statement that carbon pricing is not effective when that statement does not include a number?  It completely depends on where the price is set.  If you don't believe that a pollution fee of $100/ton of carbon emissions won't slow the use of fossil fuels, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.  The solution: Start the price low (e.g. $35) to avoid an economic shock, then increase it by $10 every year.  That is similar to compound interest, one of the most powerful forces in the galaxy. 

citizenrichard · 1 year ago

One policy area the piece did not address is the presence in the Energy Innovation Act of 2021 (H.R. 2307) of a "carbon fee border adjustment." This key component has multiple benefits. The border fee provides adjustment to equalize embedded carbon fees upon import and export of fossil fuels. Imports pay the difference between the U.S. fee and the country of origin carried price for both fuels and carbon intensive goods. With exports, both fuels and carbon intensive goods are refunded fees paid, less the cost of any carbon fee to be levied by the jurisdiction of import. The border adjustment helps level the playing field with countries such as China and has support from Republicans, most notably former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.). In a recent opinion piece in support of carbon fee & dividend, Mr. Inglis wrote the U.S. can "win China’s challenge to that border adjustment by appealing to precedents in the chemical industry that permit the application of content taxes." He correctly argued we should use the prize of access to our market to make it in the best interest of U.S. trading partners to follow our lead.Robert PearsallClimate Advocate & Gov't AffairsL|P|C StrategiesHonolulu

Berkeley1982 · 1 year ago

A free energy machine is being designed now and will be distributed all around the world. It will be quite cheap to obtain. It will make much of this article and arguments mute.

Scotty_Poppins · 1 year ago

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