INDIANAPOLIS  — In Indiana, having one’s head in the clouds is deadly; our state is the second most toxic in all the nation when it comes to pollution, according to a new U.S. News & World Report poll.

But thanks to the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), fewer politicians will have their heads in the clouds when it comes to an embraceable climate change policy. One week ago, 1,500 members of CCL swept into Washington, D.C. to hold meetings with 90% of House and Senate members.

Their agenda? To explain and lobby for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA), a.k.a. H.R. 763. This act creates the most painless path possible to shift to renewables -- which experts have said we have 12 years to do before we reach a planetary point of no return.

Let’s be honest: Any policy that isn’t bipartisan, market-driven, scientifically legit, and revenue-neutral is not going to get passed, nor make a dent in the enormity of the climate menace. The EICDA does all of these things in one elegant package. Here’s how:

The government charges a fee to industrial users at the fossil fuel source: $15 per ton of CO2 emissions. This keeps admin costs below 2% and ensures all carbon is accounted for. Then we return 100% of net revenue to every household as a dividend: a green rebate. Fifty-three percent of families, mostly lower income, will get back more than they spend to pay for the incentivized greener ways of doing business and living life. And as companies work to shift their business models in an effort to avoid these fees, jobs will boom every year: 2 million in the next 12 years.

And here’s the pièce de résistance: Corporations are pushing Congress to act. Last month, CEOs of 75 major companies including eBay, Nike & Levi’s showed up on Capitol Hill to ask for a national price on carbon. Said Michelle Patron, Director of Sustainability Policy at Microsoft: “No matter how much any one company does, federal policy is needed to drive large-scale change. It’s time for a serious national discussion on carbon pricing that can translate into policy action.” 

Even automakers recently begged President Trump not to roll back emissions standards for cars. Why? It’s not efficient for automakers to build dirty cars for the U.S. and clean cars for other markets.

Enter the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It’s projected to reduce emissions by 80% in the next 50 years. And this is the shift that can save our hides. Said former Florida congressman Carlos Curbelo, who co-sponsored carbon-fee-and-dividend legislation in 2016: “This is not about philosophies on government. It’s about making sure that future generations can continue living on this earth...in the same manner we have.” He added: “Republicans need to become protagonists in this issue.” 

Right now, only one of the 38 co-sponsors of H.R. 763 is a House Republican. Since when is survival a partisan issue?

What a striking contrast to Republicans at the local level across the nation, 84 of whom endorse H.R. 763 and EICDA. Indiana’s own Mayor Jim Brainard of Carmel has built a political brand around climate-resilient municipal innovations, such as shoring up Carmel’s water and sewer infrastructure against outages by powering the system with renewables. At his talk to the Carmel Green Initiative group last month, Brainard said he likes to remind his fellow Republicans that Teddy Roosevelt established the National Parks, Nixon formed the EPA, and Reagan patched the ozone layer. 

So as Indiana’s congressional delegation, from Baird to Brooks, may finally feel compelled to respond to the 64% of Hoosiers who want action on climate, and as farmers, insurers and mayors beg them for a federal climate solution, let’s push our thinking from nebulous to clear with the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act -- an achievable, palatable, economy-boosting jump to the post-carbon era. 

Laker is a freelance copywriter, former director of communications at the Indiana Forest Alliance, and a member of the Citizens Climate Lobby. She also hosts a movie review show, Flick Fix, on WQRT 99.1.