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A Climate Credit – Money in Your Pocket

This month you are going to see something new on your utility bill – a Climate Credit.  It is not often that you get credited on your utility bill, so here is the story. For several years, Climate Protection Campaign has been advocating for a carbon price that returns revenues to people. Last year after input from ourselves and many coalition partners the California Public Utilities Commission created the first climate customer rebate in the country.

Why do we need a price on carbon anyway and what is this rebate all about? A price on carbon reflects the actual cost to our economy and environment of fossil fuel. When we have to pay more to pollute the atmosphere for our energy needs, we will consume less fossil fuel based energy and more renewable energy. The California Cap and Trade System that began operating last year effectively does this by making polluters pay when they emit emissions under this cap. At the same time we need a policy that addresses the regressive impact of rising energy prices on middle and lower income people that a carbon price will contribute to. Enter the climate credit – your small portion of revenue collected under cap and trade by the state.

This year millions of Californians will be receiving this “climate credit.” It will appear as a line item on household electric utility bills for customers of PG&E, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and a few others around April or May, as a “climate credit” of about $35. In October, the dividend will be approximately $30. It is not a lot of money, but returning these funds to consumers represents a major shift in policy. It can pave the way for a new type of environmentally friendly economics. This breakthrough came about after years of educating policy makers about the importance of returning the revenues from a carbon price back to all Californians.

What You Can Do: The Climate Protection Campaign was at the forefront of this effort, and we will continue to advocate for a greater climate credit, (when the transportation sector comes under the cap and trade law next year, it will generate millions in revenue for the state and also increase your price at the pump), but we could use your help. You can help build on our success in California by donating your climate credit to the Climate Protection Campaign by clicking here and typing “Climate Credit” in the box that says “I want my donation to be dedicated.”

Barry Vesser