AARP Says Cantwell-Collins Climate Policy Best Protects Consumers

CLEAR Act offers simplicity and predictability; returns funds to Americans; jump-starts clean energy economy

WASHINGTON, DC – Today U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) received a letter from AARP, the nation’s largest member organization for seniors, in support of the Cantwell-Collins Carbon Limits and Energy for America's Renewal (CLEAR) Act. In the letter, AARP said “CLEAR offers a uniquely pro-consumer approach for addressing climate change on an economy-wide basis.” AARP has expressed concern over what it says are insufficient consumer protections contained within other climate legislation proposals.
“Senator Collins and I are pleased to receive today’s letter of unqualified support from AARP, and to learn that AARP identifies CLEAR as best protecting American households,” Senator Cantwell said. “Our cap-and-dividend approach ensures that low and middle-income consumers are not burdened as America makes its much-needed transition to a clean energy future.”
“It is encouraging that AARP has recognized our clean energy legislation as a simpler approach that promotes American jobs and protects consumers,” Senator Collinssaid. “Our bill addresses the most significant energy and environmental challenges facing our country. It would help reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, promote alternative energy and energy conservation, and advance the goal of energy independence for our nation.”
“On behalf of AARP and its 39 million members, I want to thank you for introducing the CLEAR Act, and for your continuing leadership on behalf of America's consumers in the Senate debate over energy independence and climate change,” Nancy Leamond, AARP Executive Vice President for Social Impact, wrote in the letter. “Your CLEAR Act legislation offers a thoughtful, bipartisan approach to reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions while also mitigating potential energy cost increases to consumers.”
CLEAR offers simple and effective alternatives to cap-and-trade ideas, including support for clean energy development, a mechanism for creating jobs and returning revenue to the American people, and a simple and transparent mechanism for limiting carbon emissions.
The CLEAR Act would:
·         Set up a mechanism for selling “carbon shares” to fuel producers and would return most of the resulting revenue in checks to every American.
·         Producers, that is, the companies that produce and import carbon fuel, as opposed to the much larger number of polluters, would bid in monthly auctions for “carbon shares.” The resulting revenue generated by the auctions is used for two vital functions:
o   75 percent would be refunded to every individual residing legally in the United States. This dividend would more than compensate for the increase in carbon-based fuel that producers would pass on to consumers.
o   The remaining 25 percent would be used exclusively toward clean energy research and development, regionally-specific assistance for communities and workers transitioning to a clean energy economy, energy efficiency programs, and reductions in non-CO2 greenhouse gases.
·         Provide price predictability for energy companies to plan future investments, especially in renewable energy and the green jobs of the future.
·         A typical family of four would receive tax-free monthly checks from the government averaging $1,100 per year, or $21,000 between 2012 and 2030.
·         The legislation will achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.
View a copy of AARP letter sent to Cantwell and Collins.

For more background information on the CLEAR Act, consult Senator Cantwell’s web site.