The Clean Electricity Plan Rejected, Next In Line – Carbon Tax?

The key climate change policy program spending – Clean Electricity $150 billion plan was rejected by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). The officially called Clean Electricity Performance Program is at the centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget spending. Politicians are bringing forward the next in-line carbon tax measure.

The Clean Electricity plan aims to reward energy suppliers who switch from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas to clean power sources like solar, wind, and nuclear power and puts a fine on those who do not. The program is called by experts as one of the most efficient ways for the US to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and doing enough to prevent the 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming. 

Senator Joe Manchin’s state West Virginia is one of the largest producers of coal in the country, and the Senator himself is involved financially in the coal industry. He claims that the reason for not supporting the program is because it is “using taxpayer dollars to pay private companies to do things they’re already doing.”

Relevant: Carbon Pricing Causes Rift Among Democrats

Carbon Tax Pros And Cons

As a result of the recent blow over the plan, some House and Senate Democrats are shaping up a Plan B that includes a carbon tax on CO2 pollution. As the almost certain rejection of the program outraged some Democrats, they are saying that now is the time for a carbon tax in the USA that, even though could lead to a rise in prices, would make CO2 polluting more expensive. 

Mr. Manchin’s vote is crucial to Joe Biden’s climate legislation agenda, and it is not clear if he would support a carbon tax. To strengthen their chances of success, Democrats are looking into ways to replace the $150 billion clean electricity program with other alternatives. 

“I’m open to different approaches, but I cannot support a bill that won’t get us where we need to be on emissions..,There are 50 Democratic senators. Every one of us is needed get this passed,” said Senator Tina Smith. 

Among the alternatives that White House officials are examining is a voluntary version of a cap-and-trade program, which would create a market for polluters to buy and sell allowances for a certain amount of emissions. There is also an option for adding up to the $300 billion in clean energy tax incentives and credits that remain in the bill. They also try to save some parts of the clean electricity bill. 

The $150 clean electricity program is essential for the country to achieve real emissions reductions, however, getting all Senators on board is a painful process, driving the country away from meeting the ultimate goal of a net zero economy by 2050.

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