Extinguishing the Licence to Burn Act (ELBA)

Frank Pallone,Jr.; Bobby L. Rush; Kathy Castor; Paul Tonko; and Debra A. Haaland

Illustration by Matt Chinworth for the New Yorker

ELBA—the Extinguishing the Social License to Burn Fossils Act—will impose an additional 20% tax on taxable income of all Fossil Era Profiteers (like Exxon) until they divest fully from carbon emitting products. That additional tax on profits escalates to 80% by 2026 and 94% in 2030.

“Last fall, the world’s climate scientists said that, if we are to meet the goals we set in the 2015 Paris climate accord—which would still raise the mercury fifty per cent higher than it has already climbed—we’ll essentially need to cut our use of fossil fuels in half by 2030 and eliminate them altogether by mid-century. In a world of Trumps and Putins and Bolsonaros and the fossil-fuel companies that back them, that seems nearly impossible. It’s not technologically impossible: in the past decade, the world’s engineers have dropped the price of solar and wind power by ninety and seventy per cent, respectively. But we’re moving far too slowly to exploit the opening for rapid change that this feat of engineering offers.” — Bill McKibben

Fossil Era Profiteers are destroying the planet because it is profitable to do so. Until this economic reality is addressed, they will continue to do so. Read my open letter to congress (link) introducing and in support of ELBA—and add your name to this petition.


Petition by
Fugal Russel
Draper, Utah
Sponsored by
2020_logo_humanitysrace
Draper, UT

To: Frank Pallone,Jr.; Bobby L. Rush; Kathy Castor; Paul Tonko; and Debra A. Haaland
From: [Your Name]

ELBA—the Extinguishing the Social License to Burn Fossils Act—will impose an additional 20% tax on taxable income of all Fossil Era Profiteers (like Exxon) until they divest fully from carbon emitting products. That additional tax on profits escalates to 80% by 2026 and 94% in 2030. Importantly, ELBA doesn't impose an excise tax on fossils (a carbon tax) because that would be a regressive tax, disproportionately impacting frontline and vulnerable communities, exacerbating systemic injustices, while also leaving intact the moral hazard of their profiting off our economic necessity to burn fossils.

What ELBA manages to do is incentivize fossil era profiteers to invest aggressively in safe energy sources, adapting to the new rules by transforming their business plans, ending all investment in fossil extraction. The market supply of fossils will gradually drop as safe energy options flood the market. No taxes will be added at the pump or to utility bills, keeping prices low. ELBA also imposes steep import and export duties on coal, oil, and natural gas over the 2020s decade to keep fossils grounded. The import and export duties keep fossils local, preventing profiteers from outsourcing a profitable extraction or sale of fossils to international markets. This is a business-centering, market-based policy that addresses The Problem head on.

Introduce this bill, debate it in committee, amend it as you see fit; please.