Yesterday John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced the American Power Act a bill that, if passed, would put national limits on carbon emissions that cause climate change. This bill is a fantastic beginning to a discussion in your class about the complexities of environmental policymaking and the provisions the bill lays out.
The short summary of the bill posted to John Kerry’s web page reads:
The American Power Act will transform our economy, set us on the path toward energy independence and improve the quality of the air we breathe. It will create millions of good jobs that cannot be shipped abroad and it will launch America into a position of leadership in the global clean energy economy.
In your classroom take the time to figure out if your students think this statement is true based on their own research!
Our Citizen Climate Lesson Plans offer an 8 lesson unit that allows you to dive into environmental policy more deeply, but it is also possible to use the lessons individually. For example, lesson 6 is focused on carbon tax, a key piece of the American Power Act legislation. Similar to a cap and trade system, a carbon tax is a market-based approach to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and stabilizing global warming. Like a cap- and-trade system, a carbon tax introduces a cost for carbon emissions. The lesson provides students and teachers with a brief background on carbon taxing and then gives students the opportunity to play the role of different stakeholders that bring their concerns to the table. Through the activity students are able to gain a real sense of the complexities of environmental policymaking, and because of the American Power Act currently being discussed, have a real and current connection to make their learning more relevant.
For more information, summaries and reflections of the American Power Act: