Skip to content
The U.S. National Climate Assessment made clear that climate change is already having economic and health impacts across the nation, and that time is running out to prevent or minimize even the worst impacts. The Assessment reflected the urgency of the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, which found that the risks associated with a warming world are substantially lower at 1.5 degrees than at 2 degrees. However, the world is not currently on track to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees, let alone 1.5 degrees.
Businesses are taking increased action to reduce emissions. In recent years, businesses in the U.S. have begun aggressively setting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within their operations and supply chains. They have pursued investments in innovative technologies, taking advantage of the rapidly falling prices of low carbon technologies, and their ambition continues to contribute to an increasingly clean and efficient private sector in the U.S.
But they can’t tackle the problem without strong leadership from Congress. The sum total of corporate commitments to reduce emissions are insufficient to meet our long term climate goals—as evidenced by 2018 Energy Information Administration data showing an economy wide increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Congress needs to create a stable, predictable policy environment that sends a transparent price signal to business. A well-designed, strong, equitable carbon pricing mechanism offers just the sort of signal to which businesses will respond with new investments in clean technologies.
Congress must put forward a policy response equal to the severity of the challenge—and that should include a meaningful price on carbon. However, a price on carbon is not a silver bullet. A carbon price can be a powerful tool to drive down emissions, but other policy mechanisms are needed in order to reduce emissions at the pace and scale required to tackle climate change.