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FCNL believes that as support for carbon pricing grows in Congress, these principles can help guide policymakers in advancing climate legislation.

A Sufficient Price and Border Adjustment

The most important element of a carbon price is its effect on carbon emissions. The price should be high enough to accelerate the decline of carbon intensive industries and spur investment in low carbon technologies. A carbon price should be paired with a border carbon adjustment to prevent carbon leakage and preserve U.S. competitiveness vis-à-vis foreign manufacturers.

Regulatory Changes

If carbon pricing legislation includes a regulatory moratorium, there should be an environmental integrity mechanism to ensure that the moratorium is lifted if the carbon fee isn’t achieving the desired reduction in emissions.

Protect Vulnerable Communities

A carbon price should promote economic equity and follow the “polluter pays” principle to ensure that the costs are not borne by the most vulnerable people, who should be helped, not harmed, by this policy. Not only is this fair, but it will also contribute to greater social cohesion and strengthen the roots of a sustainable economy that can offer opportunity to all Americans.


FCNL recognizes the challenge of finding common ground, but it also believes that this moment in history is calling upon America’s political leadership to rise above partisanship and do what is needed to protect people and the planet.

FCNL believes that an effective price on carbon can make a significant contribution to stabilizing the earth’s environment and building a world where people and their communities can flourish.