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ASBC Endorses Carbon Pricing in Massachusetts

The Joint Committee on Transportation, Utilities, and Energy (TUE) in Massachusetts discussed two carbon fee proposals this week. ASBC is a strong supporter of these efforts to set up systems for pricing carbon.

Climate change directly threatens our economy. Rising sea levels and extreme weather jeopardize the state’s vital coastline and stresses its aging infrastructure. Climate change also threatens businesses in the form of higher insurance costs and extreme weather disruptions.
Sea level has risen by 0.9 feet around Boston in the last century, and many communities are experiencing a higher frequency of tidal flooding. Sea levels are likely to rise over three feet by the end of the century and worst-case projections indicate sea level rise could be over 10 feet, putting around 30% of Boston below water. Severe flooding has devastated many Massachusetts communities in recent years. Heavy rainfall and extreme heat waves are already causing problems for business and will grow more severe in the near future.

Climate change is detrimental to business operations because it disrupts supply chains. For example, Massachusetts has one of the largest commercial fishing industries, but climate change is threatening the survival of many important fish species, such as the Atlantic cod, forcing a slowdown of economic activity in many fishing communities.

Massachusetts business leaders understand that these costs are too significant to ignore.
Setting a meaningful price on carbon sends a clear market signal that the state is moving towards a clean energy future. A price would spur more investment in renewable energy to power the state economy for generations to come. Massachusetts could be a national leader in fighting climate change, grow its economy and create jobs. Pricing carbon also acknowledges the hidden societal costs of rising healthcare premiums due to carbon pollution.

Putting a price on carbon makes sense for businesses because it works as a market mechanism. It provides each business with the flexibility to choose if and how they reduce their carbon consumption. Carbon pricing would also benefit the local economy: more money would remain in the state by reducing the volume of fossil fuels needed to import from out-of-state.
At the recent hearing, a range of constituents including businesses testified with endorsements of the measures under consideration. The Senate bill, S.1821, would levy a carbon fee of $10 per ton that rises $5 per ton every year until it reaches $40 per ton. All of the revenue would be returned to households and businesses.

The House bill, H. 1726, would levy a carbon fee of $20 per ton that rises $5 per ton every year until it reaches $40 per ton. In this case, 80% of the revenue would be returned to taxpayers through dividends and 20% would be invested in green infrastructure projects. Both bills would successfully reduce emissions and help our economy.

Massachusetts has proven itself to be a leader in the fight against climate change by committing to continue the efforts of the Paris Agreement. Massachusetts is a key regional leader, capable of uniting the Northeast in a comprehensive campaign for climate change solutions. It’s time to take serious action on climate change. It’s time for a statewide price on carbon.

Source Author: 
Bob Keener