John Delaney on Energy & Oil

Democratic candidate for President; U.S. Rep from MD-6


Keep climate change separate from other issues

Q: You say the Green New Deal is about as realistic as Trump saying Mexico is going to pay for the wall. Why isn't this sweeping plan to fight the climate crisis realistic?

DELANEY: It ties its progress to other things that are completely unrelated to climate, like universal health care, guaranteed government jobs, and universal basic income. That only makes it harder to do. My plan will put a price on carbon, take all the money, give it back to the American people in a dividend. I'm going to increase the Department of Energy research budget by fivefold, because we have to innovate our way out of this problem. I'm going to create a market for direct air capture, which are machines that actually take carbon out of the atmosphere, because I don't think we'll get to net zero by 2050 unless we have those things.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Carbon pricing works; you just have to do it right

I introduced the only bipartisan carbon tax bill. All the economists agree that a carbon pricing mechanism works. You just have to do it right. You can't put a price on carbon, raise energy prices, and not give the money back to the American people. My proposal gives a dividend back to the American people. It goes out one pocket, back in the other. I can get that passed my first year as president with a coalition of every Democrat in the Congress and the Republicans who live in coastal states.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement

Q: As president, would you keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement and commit to more ambitious targets in 2020?

John Delaney: "I would re-enter the Paris Agreement and make the U.S. a global leader in climate policy and new energy technology. With a carbon tax and an investment in negative emissions technology, we can reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and can be at net-zero carbon by 2050."

Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Apr 18, 2019

Fivefold increase in federal clean-energy funding

Q: Do you support increasing federal funding for clean-energy research? If so, how much money? Are there specific areas of research you're most interested in funding, and why?

Delaney: "Yes, I have called for a fivefold increase in clean-energy research and am the only candidate calling for a massive new investment in negative emissions technology. We won't be able to get all the way to net-zero carbon without negative emissions technology taking greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere."

Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Apr 18, 2019

Start carbon tax at $15 per ton of CO2, & add $10 per year

Q: Do you support a federal carbon tax? If so, at what price per ton?

Delaney: "Yes, I was a lead co-sponsor of a carbon tax bill in the Congress and have made a revenue-neutral carbon tax a centerpiece of my campaign. My plan would be to tax carbon beginning at a rate of $15 per metric ton of CO2 (or equivalent) and increasing $10 each year, and return 100 percent to the taxpayers with an option to invest the dividend into a tax-advantaged savings account like a 529 or retirement account."

Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Apr 18, 2019

Zero score on "350 Action's 2020 Climate Test"

The environmental group 350 Action released a candidate scorecard known as the 2020 Climate Test to assess presidential hopefuls on three major metrics: support for a Green New Deal, opposition to new fossil fuel development and refusal to accept money from energy companies.

Three candidates have made firm climate-forward commitments on all three issues:

Four candidates have supported two of 350 Action's three benchmarks.Three candidates have failed all three of 350 Action's tests, attacking the Green New Deal or making no firm pledges to work against fossil fuel companies.
Source: Mother Jones, "On Climate," on 2020 Presidential Hopefuls , Mar 27, 2019

Bipartisan carbon tax bill, but not the Green New Deal

Delaney has not held back on the campaign trail when asked about the Green New Deal, the sweeping policy proposal to combat climate change that is supported by a host of liberal lawmakers. On Twitter, Delaney once said the plan was "as realistic as Trump saying that Mexico is going to pay for the wall."

At the South-by-Southwest conference, he defended that position. "It is a time for bold solutions. But we also have to put our shoulder behind things that can actually get done," he said. "Because climate is not like other issues. We have an infrastructure issue in this country. But if we wait five years to deal with our infrastructure, it's a missed opportunity. But it doesn't get exponentially worse, so we have to deal with climate change right away."

Delaney said he would get a bipartisan carbon tax bill passed in his first year as president. "We have to have a goal around climate that's realistic," he said.

Source: CNN KFile on 2019 SXSW conference in Austin , Mar 11, 2019

Proposed carbon tax, but also invest in new technology

Climate change is one of the great threats to the next generation of Americans. And we have to stop talking about it. We have to start doing things, which is one of the reasons I introduced the only bipartisan carbon tax bill in the Congress. All the revenues get collected, get given back to the American people in the form of a dividend. I'm working on ideas to fund negative emissions technologies, which I think have to be incredibly important to how we get out of this climate dilemma. These are machines that actually take carbon out of the atmosphere. The problem is they're really expensive. We need to create a market for them. If we can do that, it can not only help get the United States to where I believe we need to be, which is net zero by 2050, but we can also have the technology that can save the world.
Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , Mar 10, 2019

Co-sponsored bipartisan carbon tax bill

Delaney co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that looked to impose an initial $15-per-ton carbon "fee" on fossil fuel producers, processors and importers. Per Axios' Ben Geman, the plan had no chance of becoming law.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Feb 27, 2019

Align incentives so creators of CO2 emissions pay for them

Putting a price on carbon emissions, is a free-market approach that would incentivize the private sector to innovate and thus provide a path into a clean energy economy. Currently, the incentives to reduce emissions are misaligned: the negative impact of the emissions falls on the world as a whole, rather than on the people creating those emissions. If we want to change behavior, we need to realign the incentives by making sure that the people who create the emissions are the ones paying for them.
Source: The Right Answer, by Rep. John Delaney, p. 82 , May 29, 2018

Gas tax has fallen since 1993, due to inflation

For years the U.S. government has imposed a small gas tax at the pump. These revenues go into a big pot called the Highway Trust Fund, which then doles out the money to states for surface transportation projects. Ninety percent of our country's roads, bridges, and transit projects are funded in this way--and for a long time, the fund was self-sufficient, meaning the gas tax covered the cost of maintaining and improving our transportation infrastructure.

The gas tax isn't indexed to inflation, however, so the value of the revenue it brings in goes down over time. And because we haven't raised the tax since 1993, a quarter century ago, the Highway Trust Fund now runs at a shortfall, which means that every five years, Congress has to scrape together some additional money to subsidize it.

Source: The Right Answer, by Rep. John Delaney, p.132 , May 29, 2018

Institute a revenue-neutral national carbon tax

To preserve our environment for future generations, we need to address our dependence on the fossil fuels that are contributing to climate change. Instituting a national carbon tax is one way to create certainty for the markets and guidelines for industry that will help foster investment, research, and development for a clean energy economy.

According to a 2008 study by the Congressional Budget Office, such a tax would be the most efficient incentive-based option for reducing emissions and could be relatively simple to implement. A revenue-neutral plan will also protect families from increased energy costs.

Source: 2012 House campaign website, delaney2012.com, "Issues" , Nov 6, 2012

Supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

Delaney supports the PVS survey question on greenhouse gases

Project Vote Smart infers candidate issue stances on key topics by summarizing public speeches and public statements. Congressional candidates are given the opportunity to respond in detail; about 11% did so in the 2012 races.

Project Vote Smart summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?'

Source: Project Vote Smart 12-PVS-q18 on Aug 30, 2012

Voted YES on banning offshore oil drilling in Gulf of Mexico.

Delaney voted YEA Interior & Environment Agencies Appropriations

Congressional Summary: House amendment to H.R. 5538, the Interior & Environment Agencies Appropriations bill for FY 2017. This amendment would prohibit funds to be used to research, investigate, or study offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

Heritage Foundation recommends voting NO: (7/13/2016): The Gulf of Mexico continues to be a very important asset for our energy future and it continues to produce significant amounts of oil and natural gas. Yet the Eastern Gulf of Mexico has not participated to this point despite its significant potential. A 2014 Heritage Foundation report said: "Excessive regulations and bureaucratic inefficiencies have stymied oil production and prevented the full effects of the energy boom." This amendment would block any potential progress that could take place by preventing the necessary work that would need to be prepared in the East Gulf for potential lease sales and eventual production.

Sierra Club recommends voting YES: (1/12/1974): The Sierra Club believes that no offshore petroleum exploration should occur unless and until the following conditions are met:

Legislative outcome: Failed House 185 to 243 (no Senate vote).

Source: Supreme Court case 16-H5538B argued on Jul 13, 2016

50% clean and carbon free electricity by 2030.

Delaney sponsored H.Res.637/S.Res.386

Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should establish a national goal of more than 50 percent clean and carbon free electricity by 2030 for the purposes of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, growing our economy, increasing our shared prosperity, improving public health, and preserving our national security.

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should--
  1. Establish a national goal of more than 50 percent clean and carbon free electricity by 2030; and
  2. Enact legislation to accelerate the transition to clean energy to meet this goal.
Source: Resolution for 50% Carbon-Free Electricity by 2030 16-HRes637 on Mar 3, 2016

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Page last updated: Dec 14, 2019