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Business Leaders Support Price on Carbon Legislation for CT

For Immediate Release: 
March 13, 2017
Contact Info
Bob Keener

HARTFORD, CT (March 13, 2017)—Today, the Policy Director for the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) spoke at a press conference in support of new proposed legislation to institute a statewide price on carbon. The bill was the subject of a public hearing today with the Joint Committee on the Environment. The press conference was hosted by State Representative Jonathan Steinberg.

Bryan McGannon, Policy Director, ASBC, said “Many businesses recognize that there are real consequences if we do nothing. Leadership like we’re seeing from these state legislators today is what business is looking for. Pricing carbon will send a clear market signal, account for all the risks fossil fuels pose to our economy, enable a simple enforcement strategy, and improve economic resilience.”

Connecticut State Representative Jonathan Steinberg said, “Across the entire political spectrum, there's a growing consensus that market-driven programs to address the real costs of carbon emissions are the answer. Today, Connecticut embarks on an effort to join other New England states in a regional consortium to pursue a carbon pricing model which rewards consumers and forward-thinking businesses with funds derived from companies that continue to pollute. Such an initiative will help the state meet the essential goals of the Governor's Climate Change Council.”

Jeff Mauk, Executive Director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, also spoke. He said, “Legislators across the country know that they can’t wait for Washington to act on global warming. Carbon pricing is a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is being praised by economists and leaders from across the political spectrum.”

Commenting on the announcement, Heather Burns, CEO of the Connecticut Sustainable Business Council said, “"The economic threats posed by climate change are very clear to businesses throughout Connecticut. There is also an incredible opportunity to fuel innovation and job growth in a transition to a clean energy economy. Given the business risks of climate change and the economic opportunities associated with carbon pricing, the Connecticut Sustainable Business Council supports a charge on carbon.”

The CT Governor’s Council on Climate Change has proposed ambitious goals for addressing climate change, and this proposed legislation is intended to meet the goals by minimizing the state’s carbon footprint. In addition, the bill calls for tax rebates to residents and businesses, as well as funding for renewable energy infrastructure and public transportation projects, both of which will ensure a sustainable economy into the future. The bill is especially timely given efforts by the Trump Administration and Congress to scale back critical air-quality measures such as auto emissions standards and the CleanPower Plan.

Climate change directly threatens Connecticut’s economy. Rising sea levels and extreme weather jeopardize the state’s agriculture industry, as well as its vital coastline and rail system. Businesses face substantial risks to due to climate change in the form of higher electricity and insurance costs.

Many states are taking the lead in introducing carbon pricing as a strategy for reducing greenhouse gases in order to address climate change. Northeastern states that have already introduced legislation for this session include MA, NY and RI. After CT, efforts are also underway in NH and VT. Legislators in those states are coordinating their efforts across the region through their participation in the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.

About the Massachusetts bill, MA State Senator Michael Barrett said, “The idea behind carbon pricing is simple: The price we pay for a fossil fuel should cover the environmental and health costs of using it. What happens next is simple economics: We react to the true cost by using less, and the planet breathes a little easier.”

About the Rhode Island bill, RI State Representative Aaron Regunberg said, “With news coming every day that the Administration and Congress are rolling back policies that slow down carbon emissions, everyone is looking to the states to lead on climate action. I’m proud that Rhode Island is taking bold action to leave a better, liveable planet for future generations.”

Nearly 40 nations and more than 20 cities, states and regions have already put a price on carbon around the world, but neither Congress or any U.S. state has yet implemented such a policy. Recently, a group of senior Republicans met with the Trump Administration to argue for a carbon tax, saying it is a conservative climate solution. The group included former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and George P. Shultz.

The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network it represents more than 250,000 business owners, executives and investors from a wide range of industries.